April 5th - 27th, 2013
There is no true explanation for Fight’s role in the whole of Tom Lovatt’s artistic oeuvre. It would seem a departure from his old-Master Spanish-court-painting-inspired works of recent years. His earlier studies, however, include many un-divulged drawings of boxers in fight, reflecting the internal conversation he has as a man confronted with perceptions of male identity. What might be called 'issues of masculine identity'; Lovatt now seeks to ask the question, “what is it to be a man in our society?”
In Lovatt’s observation, Sport, specifically boxing and mixed martial arts, is a major part of the entertainment industry. He is fascinated with masculine archetypes and their portrayal in the media. Lovatt questions, “do I fight because I'm a man? Or am I a man only when I fight? I couldn't do it, but does that make it wrong?”
The dramatic presentation of hyper-masculinity depicted in sports media is what first interested the artist. In this body of work, he takes action-shots of Boxers apart, examines them, and puts them back together. It is in this interrogation of the male that Lovatt observes Boxing and MMA fighting is highly stylized and ritualized in its presentation.
The overall performance is dramatic, violent, suspenseful, and packed with action. Anticipation rises to a climax as the savage pummeling begins. When the final bloody blow is lain, the denouement, the showboating of the victor, turns to an emotional display of camaraderie: The vanquished rises, and in a complete reversal of what brutality went before, the Boxers embrace, kiss, smash gloves, and part brothers.
Confronting the viewer with images of sport and perceived “masculinity” Fight provokes discomforting revelations about what we are accepting about masculinity and reality as viewers of popular media.