By Brad Feuerhelm for ASX, March 2014
Aaron McEroy’s new book “I lied” is beautifully designed by Jurgen Maelfeyt for Art Paper Editions. It is a inspired continuation of McElroy’s supreme visions of poetic pantone flesh and subdued eroticism. Greatly enabled by a shift in focus towards new frontiers in metaphor due to the inclusion of landscapes and interiors, the work carriers on with a soft, but resilient look at intimacy. Still present throughout is the use of the color pink and the muted and washed out palette that drives his interest in color. The forms are reduced to the contours and folds of female skin. The images are sensitive in their transition from sex to that of lyrical engagement with desire. Nothing in the book is too blatantly on display. It reminds one more of the spaces between desire and looking more than the spectacle of looking itself.
The aforementioned interiors become allusions towards that of the absent male gaze. Playful images of black gloves, a photograph of the backside of a cardboard cut out, rocks, and blackened bananas react against the soft display of erotic grandeur. There is also a new role within the book with the inclusion of text… included haphazardly with a sharpie marker on white page… it seems to read in places like an apologetic suicide letter… a suicidal love letter… ”I hope the orange pills will allow you to forgive me”, which in turn layers the book and works with an uncomfortable gesture towards the musings and misunderstanding between people and the burden of relationships. There is that palpable feel of loss and sorrow, but also that of a very real encounter between feeling alive and feeling for another person.
Having followed McElroy’s work for the past couple of years, I find this his strongest body of work to date as he is beginning to take more chances with his aesthetic. Where before, the eroticism was charged and more obvious, he is now focusing on the spaces between and for that reason alone, I feel it worthwhile to champion his vision and new works. A great success to this series in book format is Jurgen Maelfeyt’s eloquent pacing and punctuating edit of non-coporeal imagery. Hats and gloves off, the work does not disappoint.
Art Paper Editions
(All rights reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm, Images @ Aaron McElroy)