By Scott McEwan
The body of work presented in this exhibition is spawned from pro wrestling culture, sexual orientation, identity, social connections made through the internet, and lived experience.
Pro wrestling is an athletic, performative, and ritualistic act. It is a key component of my life orientation because of the unique social spaces, culture and a community it offers. One of the most intriguing aspects of this lifestyle is the language it possesses. Pro Wrestling Speak is derived from English carnival culture of the 1800’s. Casual words in English have been appropriated and given new meaning. It is not unlike codes of secret security or secret societies. The only difference is that pro wrestling’s secrets are very much in the public domain. It is in this language that I find inspiration for my Neo Psychedelic paintings. The tension between words in Wrestle Speak and English are the catalyst for every work.
Within pro wrestling there are four major types of characters. The Jobber (the perpetual loser), the Heel (the rule breaking villain), the Face (the super hero), and the Tweener (the wrestler of ambiguity). In today’s pro wrestling its mostly a juxtaposition of Heel vs Face. Good versus evil. I miss the days when Jobbers and Tweeners were more prominent. The duality of Face and Heel seems, to me, another easy fit in this world of the bipolar schism. Where individuals are relegated by choice and social manipulations into extreme dualities such as Coke or Pepsi, left or right, top or bottom, happy or sad, and Mac or PC. These dualities are imposed by a rigid global power structure and finds its way into many aspects of our lives. Even pro wrestling is not immune. It is for this reason that I based the exhibit around the concept of the Tweener (the ambiguous wrestler). It is in this character that I find an acknowledgment of the real world. The one where living and non-living things are connected through infinite set of relationships. A world of possibility as opposed to terminal options disguised as complex choices.
Conceptually this interconnectedness is found in the images appropriated from wrestling magazines and those sent to me randomly by friends on social networking sites. In these paintings you will find images of wrestlers, masks, and gear juxtaposed with cartoon characters, flowers, nuclear reactors, and other random images. These images are woven together in a visual webbing of definitive contours and oozing ink outlines This morphing lacework of imagery is the result of an 8 step structured process. The complexity of the aesthetic is created through my own rigidity and obsessive behaviour. Two opposite words from Wrestle Speak act as book ends or brackets between the connected imagery. The outcome is a fine line between representation and abstraction. Here in the connected and fluid imagery is where I hope the viewer can find the Tweener in my work.