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Offshoot is pleased to present “Masculinity” an exhibition featuring video, photographic and sound works by artist Othello De'Souza-Hartley. In his work, he presents different representations of masculinity while questioning what it means to view gender and society through a present-day lens. He explores these topics in his ‘Masculinity Phases’ project (2011-2018), in which he documented males of various ages and ethnicities. With this, De'Souza-Hartley challenges the complexities of masculinity through self-portraiture, video, sound and interviews.
In Masculinity Phase 5, De'Souza-Hartley himself is filmed. The video shows the artist naked in various positions: still, moving, sitting, standing, or curled up on his side or pacing, while accompanied by the meditative sound of his breathing. In this video, along with photographs from Masculinity Phase 3, the artist uses himself as the subject. With this, he claims his space to perform his masculinity through his process, examining what it means to be male. In Masculinity Phase 1, various male sitters are photographed, all with unclothed torsos, showing diverse body types and other physical features. These are presented in conjunction with the sound piece Masculinity Phase 6 (collaboration with composer Ian Dean), which the artist developed in conversation with men and their views on the pressures of masculinity.
The works centre around questions of gender and the stereotypes linked to them, exploring the notions associated with masculinity. Masculinity is often synonymous with level-headedness, which results in the expectation that men remain unemotional. Strength and power, as well as aggression, are stereotypical masculine traits addressed in De'Souza-Hartley’s Masculinity Phases. He is presenting himself and his sitters as ascribing to these traits while simultaneously contradicting them, or he confronts them directly, for example in his sound piece. He prompts an exploration of contradicting the ideal representation of masculinity, allowing for a redefinition of the word by not only himself and his sitters, but everyone who approaches and interacts with his Masculinity Phases.
Alexandra Steinacker Clark is an American-Austrian art historian, curator and writer. She obtained her BA in History of Art at University College London and is currently continuing her education at Goldsmiths University with an MA in Arts Administration and Cultural Policy. Her specialisations include contemporary art, specifically feminism, technology, and artificial intelligence in artistic practice. She currently works at Sotheby’s auction house, London.
Offshoot Gallery was established in 2019. The gallery is located in East Finchley, North London. Our programme is focused on emerging artists and curators, providing curatorial and artist-led exhibitions. These exhibitions and events aim to engage with the local community, encouraging intercultural exchange.
Othello De'Souza-Hartley is a mixed media artist. His artistic mediums include photography, film, performance, sound, drawing and painting. He received an MA in Fine Art from Camberwell College of Art and previously studied photography at Central St Martins.
De’Souza-Hartley’s work explores identity, emotions, masculinity, gender, and the changing perception of the black body. De’Souza-Hartley recently received a commission from Autograph for a group show taking place late 2020. He is inspired by the mood and psychological themes of classical paintings. Architecture plays a significant role in De’Souza-Hartley’s work as a coadjutor to the sitter.
He was nominated for Peer to Peer, a group show of 14 artists, selected by 14 curators and collectors from across the UK and China, for his Masculinity Project. He is also the recipient of numerous commissions from a range of institutions including, Museum of Liverpool, National Portrait Gallery, The National Trust, The Photographers’ Gallery, Camden Arts Centre and Platform for Art. He has had solo shows at Campo XXV Aprile (Rome Art Week), The Museum of Liverpool, Camden Arts Centre and The Underground Gallery and featured in group shows at the Sulger- Buell Gallery, Gasworks Gallery and the APT gallery London.
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The gallery will be open to the public. A limited number of visitors will be allowed in the gallery at a time. All visitors must wear masks, hand sanitiser will be provided and social distancing measures strictly observed. Hand sanitiser and face masks will be provided at the front of the gallery.
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