Writing about Cary Kwok’s work can be hard. It’s tricky not to lapse into Mill & Boon-type prose when confronted with a very enthusiastic penis. The artist’s latest solo show at Herald Street is overrun with them, but this isn’t just about graphic humour, it’s equally focussed on his immaculate drawing capabilities.
A step forward from Kwok’s earlier works of macho men depicted in moments of vulnerability — usually at the point of orgasm — his new series of drawings are still lead by hyper-eroticism, but this time sexual fantasy is manifested through decadent architecture. In a dramatic meeting of flesh and concrete, each work is an elevated architectural drawing or interior design, hiding or pronouncing a multitude of naked men and erect members.
Taking cue from styles and periods as diverse as the Tang Dynasty, Baroque and Art Deco, Kwok plays to the opulence of each movement. Executed in coloured ink and acrylic, each drawing is meticulously detailed. In one work, an Art Deco pavilion is supported by two gargantuan grecian statues-cum-corbels, their ejaculations posing as elegant fountains. Across the room, Homosexually Colonised and Cyberpunked, 2016 sees neon shop signs shouting ‘Bukkake Buffet’ and ‘C.K vintage’. Teasingly, ‘Herald Street’ is also signposted.
Peppered with historical reference, the exhibition humorously mocks the relationship between architecture and its long-lived obsession with masculine virility. You only need to look at the phallic high-rise towers dominating the London skyline.
Cary Kwok is showing at Herald Street until 25 September. All images Courtesy of Herald St, London. Photos: Andy Keate.