The art of Robert Sherer


American Martyr.

The Sebastian-esque piece above is a pyrograph by American artist Robert Sherer. Pyrographs—pictures burned onto wood—aren’t very common here but are a fixture of craft classes at US summer camps. Sherer adopts the medium to subvert the wholesome orthodoxies of American life, that side of America which persistently stigmatises minorities as “other”, and to resurrect and explore his memories of youthful feelings for other boys.



“Stigma” is an apt word when discussing Sherer’s work. His paintings in the Male Nudes series, of which Newborn (above) is a part, have suffered censorship at the hands of those who found their representations of men in the postures of traditional female nudes to be bizarrely unacceptable. (The tribulations are detailed here.) Then there’s his Blood Works series of symbolic botanical illustrations—some of which are entitled Stigmata—which use HIV+ blood as a medium to explore “the complexities of romantic life and sexual attraction in the HIV era.” The challenge of these works to the viewer makes a considerable change from the usual parade of undressed men which comprise the majority of work by male artists dealing with gay themes.



Robert Sherer slideshow at GLBTQ
Robert Sherer at Lyman-Eyer

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