“Human, all too human” by Gareth Leaney (2011)

5 thoughts on ““Human, all too human” by Gareth Leaney (2011)”

  1. I think I like the works in this context – published on your blog, photographed on your mantelpiece, accompanied by an explanation. For me there would be more connotations of amateurish political art if it was in a white cube exhibition space.

    They are clear representations of the previous U.K prime ministers (except Gordon Brown?..). I suppose the obvious narrative is that the assorted disappointment, disagreement and unpopularity surrounding the first three will probably follow David Cameron’s administration too. In this way, does the work’s construction direct my conclusion?

    It’s easy to use Fairey’s format to point out human failing.So what is the alternative to failed hoping in individuals who cannot deliver? I think that Slavoj Zizek says the reason monarchy exists is because we like the idea of being led by a king. This is also seen in the old testament (somewhere) when the Israelites demand a king from God. People want someone to sort their issues out..

    Shepard Fairey’s hope poster starts to look very ‘religious’ in this light.

    Btw, have you painted gold edges onto the pictures? Is that some sort of icon reference?

    1. Hey Josh. Thanks for your comments and questions!
      I think you’re right about the context – I originally made it with a gallery in mind, but as I worked on it I started thinking that the ideal place for it would be in a stairwell or something like that. So that it’s less a statement about the individual Prime Ministers themselves, and more about the repeating cycle of hope and frustration. And yes, your conclusions are roughly what I was thinking about. I left out Gordon because I don’t think people attached the same hope to him as they did the others, because he wasn’t directly elected.
      I agree about Fairey’s poster too. I did paint the edges gold to kind of hint at that. I was thinking of replacing one of the colours with gold, but I decided that would be too much. In the end, I quite like the gilt-edged look.
      I intentionally asked the questions without trying to answer them, although I do think I know what the answer is. We repeatedly put our trust in humans to sort everything out, and they repeatedly disappoint us – your point about OT kings hits the nail on the head. In the OT, the succession of OT kings point us to a better king, King Jesus. So I hope these paintings provoke that question – what is the alternative? Who can we really trust to sort things out once and for all? Who really can bring transformation?

  2. Awesome. I’m a Fine Arts student in New Zealand & I’m also a Christian! I’ve been trying to figure out how to incorporate my faith into my work. Something you’ve done successfully. Really interesting topic. I think you’ve addressed it in a way that isn’t offensive, which can be hard not to do.

    1. Hi Chrissy, thanks for stopping by. I’m working on a resources page with some books and websites that might be helpful to you. Keep an eye on the blog – I’ll post the details when it’s done.

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