Reflections On A ScrotumTuesday, April 02, 2013
|Johnson & Materna
To this day I will never hide the fact that I worked for Bi-Line. I had lots of fun and it certainly opened my eyes. At the time they had yet to give weekly fetish parties on Thursdays in Burnaby. I did not know why K-Y Jelly was a better product than vaseline.
For many one’s past can come to haunt a profitable and established career in mainstream life in our city. In the late 70s and 80s I knew many strippers. One nightmare, for them, is to be recognized now, in public, as having been part of that profession.
While having worked for Bi-Line had made me a bit less conventional in my beliefs I was still in slight shock when writer Ben Metcalfe, sometime in the early 80s told me that I was going to photograph a couple of “porn ladies” for his Vancouver Magazine column Dilations. He snickered as only Ben Metcalfe could and told me I was going to have fun. I was to later find out that porn ladies they were really not.
I met the two women at one of their homes. Just in case the two women are either working for a school board or other sensitive organizations I will say that their names were Johnson and Materna. I was shocked to see a painting of male nude in which you could discern what was then (and still is) an unmentionable male sexual organ - the scrotum.
Even though I was yet to be even moderately sophisticated in my shooting style I knew enough not to have the two women pose side by side to one of their paintings. But I was still stupid enough to include that fern in the picture. I arranged it so that the painting would be seen reflected in the mirror. I knew that the picture that was to appear in Vancouver Magazine would be small enough so that most people would not notice the male purse.
I recently contacted one of the artists who told me that the purpose (a sort of political statement) of the exhibition (she was to graduate from Emily Carr) was to show paintings of men in the same way that men tended to paint nudes of women. There are persitent rumours out there that Doris Shadbolt was so shocked by the show that she tried to close it.
Since that early 80s show and my vague memory of the kafuffle between Paul Wong and the Vancouver Art Gallery, it would seem that nothing artistically shocking has happened in our city.
Perhaps the reason for it is that our city is provincial in the original meaning of that word. A brand new state-of-the-art Vancouver Art Gallery would have an avant-garde shell in which the inside would remain the same, art for a provincial city.
More Dilations by Ben Metcalfe