Often the work is an examination of macho male stereotypes that seeks to disrupt them and point out the ludicrous nature of the implied expectations, reflecting on society’s expectations of what these gender ‘ideals’ should be.
This exhibition brings together drawings and sculptures and riffs on the similarities and contradictions between the two. His drawings often feature everyday objects, but obscure their properties through graphic mark making and cartoonish aesthetics. Likewise, the sculptures consist of a fusion of fabrics, porcelain and store bought items, eliciting both a sense of enticement and revulsion.
Each work can be read as a personalised fiction of Keenan’s own experiences, where he reflects on feelings of inadequacy in the face of culturally accepted ‘norms’. Keenan challenges this by channelling ambiguity, emphasising the narcissistic attributes of modern-day male behaviour, fusing flamboyancy with awkward gesture to nudge at masculinity’s definitions and exposing its fragility.
Tommy Keenan was born in 1991 in North Shields and lives in Whitley Bay. He graduated from BA (Hons) Fine Art at Northumbria University in 2015 and is currently on Northumbria University’s MFA programme.
‘Man or Mouse?’ is presented as part of DRAWING, a programme of exhibitions and events across the North East England region that pose the question: does DRAWING matter?