Derrick Hawkins - January 2013

As humans we desire to reach an unattainable perfection. One way we have fulfilled our desire for perfection is by creating surrogates for ourselves, representations such as mannequins and sculptures. Art historians tell us that in ancient Greek sculpture formations standards were created for the ideal male body. This ideal that has been placed on stone and metal, also has been superimposed onto the real human body in contemporary culture. In this group of images, I have been exploring the idea that men in society today have been pressured to appear as the ideal male physique.

 The problems associated with body image problems are more commonly accepted as a women’s issue, but men today have been placed on an equal playing field. Practices such as plastic surgery and steroid use for men have become common.

According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, in 2003, men underwent 13 percent of all procedures. The ASPS reports that cosmetic plastic surgery procedures in men rose 2 percent in 2010 compared to 2009. (ASPS)  The ideal is unobtainable when the body is not capable of achieving into the proportions that are considered perfect.

This body of work has evolved over the semesters. I began creating a catalog of bodies of men and comparing the difference between them. I focused on the body parts that men concentrated on the most when working out. Eventually I began to project photographs of the normal torso onto the stylized ideal shape of a mannequin. Projecting the photographs of the normal bodies creates a juxtaposition that raises interesting questions about this ideal/real dialectic. I found that by using the virtual projection on the solid object I was able to express these cultural issues of men with body issues in a visual representation.