Recently, my friend Ed (at the ripe age of 22) decided to take the plunge and become the first of our friendship group to move in with his long term girlfriend. After scoping out the rental scene they found a lovely apartment in Teneriffe and began the arduous task of furnishing the space. Now, as most males know when it comes to interior designing women tend to come out on top. Us women have wily ways that tend to leave the male population utterly bewildered at how the black leather couch and recliner turned into a three piece baroque style French lounge suite. This was definitely the case with Ed; after trying for a Banksy print he had to settle on a rather shmick knife block. His new pad, although beautifully decorated, had a female flair which would leave the most feminine of men feeling rather deflated. After a quick investigation and chat to a few mates I realised that Ed’s situation was not out of the ordinary with many men pining for a man cave or even a bit of ‘Man Art’ in their home. Red Hill Gallery represents over 120 artists making it one of the biggest commercial galleries in Australia. With such a large number of artists we like to think that we have something for everyone regardless of taste or budget.
So I decided to consult the president of SoFA (the University Of Queensland Society of Fine Arts) and fellow colleague at Red Hill Gallery Simon Brigden on what he thought to be the more ‘manly’ art in the gallery and this is what he came back to me with... Interior decorating: gentlemen don’t turn away. This activity is a means for you to turn that knife block into vivid, striking works by Dean Reilly, Richard Kulma, or Angus Comyns. Transform house into home, or just create a man space to enjoy alongside your partner’s own design choices.
One set of values, or just one look, does not define the contemporary man, and he has many aspects. An interest in all things sport does not discount his need to wear a clean cut suit and ironed shirt. And his castle can now be hung with art which reflects his many varying interests. Now, this mantuary might be an ode to cricketing great, and controversial character, Shane Warne. One of Richard Kulma’s works captures the bowler just after he releases one of his destructive leg spins. Australia’s men side may not be the number one Test team in the world, but Warney is still taking wickets from his perch in the man cave. Mates can unite around the memories he conjures, and the work will become the centrepiece of any abode. The urban images of Angus Comyns provide another outlet for vibrant expression in the home. Taking after street art, the ubiquitous visual medium which also brightens a worker’s day as they head down Burnett Lane, Comyns work reflects the best of popular culture and contemporary life without its stresses (no gridlock thank you). His aesthetic fits equally perfectly in the inner-city apartment as it does in the suburban Queenslander. A piece from Dean Reilly’s new corpus completes this man space. In particular, his Kamikaze Moose (2012), with its striking, jagged shapes and vivid colours would blend into the home of any man seeking solitude from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And Reilly’s unique look is just one facet of the contemporary man, just as pieces by Comyns and Kulma are.
The upcoming exhibition at Red Hill Gallery, Men of Matter, will showcase new work by established male artists, and is a must for any budding man who wishes to decorate his space in style. These artists add a unique character to any home, and will complement the choices made by your significant other. The mantuary may be endangered, but it isn’t dead.