Jamestown, NY

“Photonominal ’93”

The Forum Gallery

Curated by Carlos Gutierrez-Solana, this show of contemporary photography was, paradoxically, both a broad-based survey and a carefully considered thematic exercise. The human figure became a means of disseminating the questions of eroticism, social role-playing, and intimacy raised by the 19 photographers in the show, in spite of their wide-ranging formal strategies.

John Rand’s “Bear” portraits—studio shots of hairy, heavyset men—address the need for more diversity in depictions of the ideal male figure, and serve as a document of Bear culture, a subset of gay culture. Juxtapose Rand’s portraits with Kelly R. Vancil’s “rediscoveries” of the male form—softly toned celebrations of models who must devote at least 10 of 24 hours to the upkeep of their splendid physiques. While Vancil claims that he, too, is trying to debunk conventional notions of masculinity (through the soft toning), in

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