The male art of David Jester

(Naked men, most with visible penises — but this is fine art and also fantasy, so it falls under the Fine Art exemption for public display of the male body. But if you find such things objectionable, this posting is not for you.)

One sample on Pinterest caught my eye yesterday, and that took me to the Singulart site on David Jester. The text:

« There in the painting was the pool I felt I belonged to: the pool of gay men, portrayed and honored, out in the open, not hidden or something to be ashamed of. »

David Jester is an exciting American painter who has exhibited his work in the US and Netherlands. His work centers around snapshots of the gay community as he has experienced it; themes include masculinity, discrimination, submission, love and joy. The distinctive painted pools act as metaphors for the pool of humanity, particularly within the community, and the characters that appear in the water represent lived and recognizable behaviors. Particularly focusing on the impact of online interactions between gay men, Jester ultimately asks questions about identity and belonging within the family he has chosen as his own.

The underwater setting allows the men — all totally naked and matter-of-factly drawn from a wide spectrum of physical types and racioethnic identities (their being gay is what unites them, the only thing that is truly important) — to float free of gravity and interact without the constraints their bodies might otherwise impose on them. They engage each other in an enormous number of ways: in a full range of acts of affection, dominance and submission, play, displays of support, exploration of one another, and self-discovery, and, yes. in frank sexual acts (fellatio and anal intercourse). Throughout, they are presented as persons, not as objects of sexual desire.

One huge painting depicts the advancement of AIDS in a series of men going deeper and deeper in the pool. Even with the fantasy context and the abstraction that Jester uses in presenting their otherwise beautiful bodies, it’s very hard to take, and I won’t reproduce it here.

Now four examples. And then a bit about Jester, who is open, articulate, and passionate about what he’s doing in his paintings.

Four David Jester pool paintings.

(#1) Epiphany, from 2017, about self-discovery

(#2) Stay, from 2018, perhaps about affiliation

(#3) Palm Springs Painting, perhaps about community; from the Saatchi Art site, which doesn’t provide datings

(#4) Sub, about dominance and submission; also from the Saatchi Art site

About David Jester. From his page on the Visual AIDS site:

David Jester, b. 1960: I started drawing and painting at a young age. When the kids in the neighborhood were outside playing I always preferred being inside, usually drawing. As I grew up I focused on Art in school, with the nagging “you should try something else, you don’t want to be a starving artist” playing in the back of my head. I ignored all that and majored in Art in College, getting my BFA from VCU [Virginia Commonwealth University] and my MFA from Rutgers University [in New Jersey], and then I starved lol.

And then a YouTube interview video, “Studio Visit: David Jester, Palm Springs CA”. (Yes, he lives in Palm Springs.) Talking at some length about himself, AIDS, and his art.

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