Tyler Lafreniere’s work probes contemporary masculine identity by reinterpreting “male” identity through cultural imagery. By examining the male form, masculinity and modernity, he rediscovers the raw societal rhetoric that surrounds men in the 21st century. With each work he attempts to access the special relationships and bonds that have existed between men throughout history, and comprehend what these mean to himself and the zeitgeist of what a contemporary man “is”.
For this exhibition Lafreniere has created a series of black and white silkscreen prints and an edition of sculptures, all referencing the sport of skeet shooting. Portraits of amateur marksmen competition contestants are presented, appropriated from American Rifleman Magazine. The images are reinterpreted, largely removing the marksmen’s weapons and recontextualizing the originals to reference traditional portraiture. Accompanying the portraits, Lafreniere has fabricated clay pigeons cast out of pure white porcelain, creating a precious object. Hand printed cardboard boxes, replicating the original package design, become sculptural elements connecting to both their source material and art historical references.
At the forefront of this work are themes of proficiency, sport, and recreational competition. This classic male “play” at violence is treated with a precious fragility at odds with the recreation’s original destructiveness. The futility of recreating clay pigeons out of porcelain reverses the disposability of the original forms. Through the alteration and cropping of the original imagery, Lafreniere minimizes the weaponry removing the tools of this violent sport, implying a impotence in portraits’ subjects. By appropriating the culture’s visual symbols of masculinity and reconstructing these into a new identity, Lafreniere has transformed these symbols into floating signifiers, disconnected from the original.
View Tyler Lafreniere on Dose Projects