Painter Shayne Chester is joining other like-minded artists to exhibit work on leather themes this year for Leather Pride Week. Chester has been exhibiting paintings and photographs for years and takes his leather-themed work as seriously as his landscapes -“ although a certain type of feedback prevails. Most people look at my work and go -˜nice dick’ or whatever, Chester said. They rarely see beyond the motif to the way that has been created -¦ I see a work of art as like a battle between all these various elements, between line, texture, angle, size, hue, tint, shape et cetera. They’re all battling each other. And I think for the work to attain some kind of unity, one of each of those elements has to attain a dominance over the others, he said. Chester’s work forms part of the group show Artspace held at the TAP Gallery at 278 Palmer Street, Darlinghurst from 19 to 24 May. His body of work can be seen in its entirety online (at photos.yahoo.com/shayne1_2000) although his paintings for Artspace range from the graphic to the boldly erotic such as Icon II (pictured). A common link is a suggestion of religious iconography: peripheral glimpses of St Sebastian, or the Pieta. Chester tells me that the image of Christ on the cross is totally horny and Saint Sebastian was the first gay S/M icon, admitting the additionally camp appeal of such imagery. It was a more butch impulse that drew him to submit works in a leather exhibition for the first time this year. For me being a gay man has always meant that we’ve pushed those parameters, we push things right to the edge, both in the arts and sexually -¦ So getting an opportunity to show my work and express it in that way, in a show like this is kind of rare.

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