Painter Martin Swift mans up in new exhibition

It could not be said of Martin Swift's work that clothes make the man. The painter debuts his new solo show, "Paradox of Masculinity," at the Above the Bike Shop gallery tonight in Adams Morgan. It's a compelling series of male nudes -- some seven feet tall, too large for you to avert your eyes. The exhibition is curated by Micah Greenberg and Kate Warren.

The backlash to the early 2000s metrosexual trend resulted in a wave of hyper-masculine fashion and pop culture -- think Ron Swanson, Chuck Norris jokes and a preoccupation with mustaches. But Swift's men are softer and rounder than the traditional chiseled male nude, and many are posed with apparatuses from low-impact sports -- badminton, croquet, bowling -- as if to further diminish them. The exhibition will be presented in the context of a man's living space, with staging by menswear brand MUTINY, and Swift will also work from the space throughout the month.


"Austin," by Martin Swift, 2013

The curators have also planned programming around the show, including an ArtJamz session where participants can sketch the artist, and a conversation about gender identity and sexuality. More information is available on the show's Facebook page. The opening will take place tonight, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., at the Above the Bike Shop gallery (above City Bikes, 2503 Champlain St NW). The show runs through August 22.

Maura Judkis covers culture, food, and the arts for the Weekend section and Going Out Guide.
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