The Male Gaze, a term coined to describe the domination of painting by men using the guise of the academy to fill rooms with naked women. The act of the male eye as it moves over those paintings caressing the female body. The woman objectified, dominated and kept in her place by art. Unable to look back at the viewer, she can not confront the power struggle. When Monet’s Olympia had the audacity to look back at the viewer it caused an outcry.
It continued into film and continues today, although the woman now has some power, her sexuality is still often her main attribute in many films, the camera is the tool of the artist and now the gaze is animated, looking up or down the female form in a way rarely used on male actors.
In this show McKay turns this around, the room is full of male nudes for the eyes to caress. Sexualised and objectified, is she any better than the men of the nineteenth century? Does turning it around act out some sort of revenge?
Maybe not but it puts the viewer in a position to question their relationship to the images, to feel the power or vulnerability to experience comfort or discomfort? Do we live in an age where we are unable to feel empathy? Are we removed from images by the pure overload?