55 portraits of a creep (Set of 55)

55 Portraits of a Creep

Artist Statement

As a 55-year-old male artist, I find myself navigating a complex cultural landscape when itcomes to masculinity and identity. The #MeToo movement and rise of feminist narratives around concepts like the male gaze have left many men my age feeling uncertain about how to exist without causing offense.

We came of age in a era steeped in toxic masculinity norms, where misogynistic attitudes and behaviour were par for the course. In this, there is a sense of shame about having participated in that culture, even indirectly. No matter how “woke” an older man tries to be now, there’s always the stigma of being seen as a creep or relic who is no longer desirable.

My series, “55 Portraits of a Creep” uses AI technology to generate 55 portrait variations of a middle-aged everyman. The multiple iterations highlight how male identity at this age exists in a sort of uncanny valley - at once ubiquitous and invisible, familiar yet increasingly obsolete in the eyes of youth.

The portraits confront the viewer to make direct eye contact with this ambiguous, aging male form. His gaze is averted from the male gaze narrative, but also reflects the shame, confusion and fading relevance of contemporary masculinity in crisis. Neither objectifying nor objectified. The perception of beaning offensive for being present stubbornly remains.

By directing the AI to create variations on a rigidly defined archetype, the work suggests both the uniformity and invisible anxiety lurking within this demographic. We are simultaneously everywhere and nowhere as we age into irrelevance yet refuse to be erased. The portraits ask - can the male gaze persevere through sheer ubiquity? Or will it be eliminated through sheer attrition as successive generations evolve past it?

  • 55 portraits of a creep (Set of 55)
  • Coert Wiechers
  • digital print and mixed media on board
  • Edition of 5
  • 55 x (12x12)
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