Deatil of "Seeing Red" (Villemain vs. Belleisa), oil on canvas, by Tom Lovatt (Toby Bartlett)
We live in a culture where violence is routinely applauded as a form of entertainment. Or deplored as an act of war.
—Tom Lovatt, artist
Winnipeg artist Tom Lovatt has been working as a figurative artist for 40 years. His latest exhibit, Fight, features paintings and many drawings of boxers and mixed martial artists in contest. It reflects the internal conversations Lovatt has confronted about perceptions of male identity.
SCENE asked Lovatt to share the story behind one of his pieces, Seeing Red:
In this painting there are three men. One has struck the other so hard the victim staggers under the blow and is about to fall. A third looks on impassively, unaffected, unmoved by what he has witnessed. Three types of men are presented: the Aggressor; the Victim; the Observer. Which are you?
We live in a culture where violence is routinely applauded as a form of entertainment. Or deplored as an act of war. We denounce its consequences for women, yet justify the debilitating effects for men. Within these contradictions we frame our ideas of what it means to be a man, underscored by the pervasive assumption that violence is the prerogative of men and the defining characteristic of a 'real' man.
There are no answers here, only questions. Questions about how and why we define masculinity so often in terms of violence and the willingness to fight.
Fight opens Friday, April 5th at 7 p.m. and runs till April 27th at Gurevich Fine Art.