By Angela Romeo
Terry Hastings is not one to shy away from controversy – even if that controversy exits in the mind of another. His latest show Dirty Laundry opens August 12 at Colliding Worlds Fine Art Gallery. “This particular body of work includes bodies, specifically male bodies,” said Terry. “For some the thought of a nude figure, let alone a male nude, is cause for alarm. Had the work featured female nudes I doubt many would have even blinked.”
Terry’s photographic work is movement captured, “I have worked on series using the elements earth, air, fire, and water as the starting point. Using the element as the subject I introduced a figure, a male nude to interact with the element. The nude figure captures the essence of the element: Pure, simple, classical compositions that are produced in a contemporary manner, with full awareness of the art. “
So why is Terry always a step from being banned on Facebook? “Our society has been conditioned to view all nudity as pornography. Facebook has banned not just my work but even photos of the bronze statue, The Little Mermaid. The sculpture is displayed on a rock by the in Copenhagen, Denmark. Somehow that offended someone!”
“I fully expect Dirty Laundry will ruffle someone’s sensibilities. While a little controversy always makes for good press, it would be better if the dialogue of art vs. pornography were explored. The human figure is studied in almost every art academic program. Being able to capture the nude form is a rite of passage for most art students. We don’t blush at that but when that same figure is removed from the academic world into our everyday world, there is panic. It baffles me.”
Dirty Laundry features over 100 images shot by Terry in natural surroundings. “Again the figure complements the surroundings. A clothed figure would be a fashion shoot or magazine editorial. Neither was my intent. My focus was the movement within the surroundings.”
“I understand that my work, particular the male nudes, will make a few uncomfortable. Whether I will offend someone or not is not my concern. I am creating my art – my art, not art to ease the puritanical conscience of another. Be offended! That is ok. It would be better if a viewer entered that art world with an open mind. It is ok not to like a particular work. It is another to dismiss a work because of the nude.”
“Oftentimes, I do not get the opportunity to show explicit nudes. I have been able to show nudes as long as the ‘parts’ aren’t showing, or are covered up. I do not know too many people who are born with black modesty bars hiding these apparently offensive physical features. At the Colliding Worlds Fine Art Gallery, I’m encouraged to show exactly what I want to show. That is why nearly every photo on display has never been seen publicly. I’ve allowed myself to widen my viewpoint and not edit out certain photos because the butt is showing or anything else.”
The Supreme Court once held that the standard for deciding what constitutes pornography is material where the “dominant theme taken as a whole appeals to the prurient interest”, and that the “average person, applying contemporary community standards” would disapprove of it. In 1964 Justice Potter said that “I shall not today attempt further to define the kinds of material I understand to be embraced within that shorthand description, and perhaps I could never succeed in intelligibly doing so. But I know it when I see it…” In 1973 the Supreme Court again took on the concept of pornography. The case set three criteria – the most important being that the work as a whole “must lack literary, artistic, political, or scientific values.”
Dirty Laundry is a collection of artwork that respects the classical concept of the nude but brings the male figure into the contemporary art world with respect and dignity.
For more on Terry Hastings visit www.mrterryhastings.com
Colliding Worlds Fine Art Gallery (www.collididingworldsfineart.com) is located at 68-895, #I-13, Cathedral City Ca.