Apostles (1998)

Stephen Andrews

May 19 - June 26, 2006

"These bodies of works, Hoi polloi and Apostles move my pictorial investigations from the self to the social, from the body to the body politic. Hoi polloi (Greek for the masses) pictures crowds watching, being watched, demonstrating and waiting. Here, figure /ground relationships are askew: the viewer has become the subject of the pictures, and the expectant crowd eagerly awaits his or her next move. It is this anticipation that reflects the current 'fin de siecle' uneasiness summed up in the sentiment, "What next?" This holds true for any number of concerns, be they identity politics, AIDS activism or social justice. There is a certain rudderlessness as we navigate these horse latitudes, those windless seas near the equator.

Thinking about crowd narratives led me back to the new testament's gospels. Religious fervor is sometimes referred to as spiritual ecstasy. I wanted to play around with that notion, downgrading it to base desire. My apostles are portraits of hustlers from fifties porn magazines, elevated for more "noble" purposes, like the sinners cast as saints by Caravaggio.

In the bible stories, the apostles were chosen from the crowds. They were considered at the time to be outlaws, and I wanted to draw a parallel between the apostles and alleged perpetrators isolated by a police surveillance camera's lens. As the camera zooms in, from wide to medium to close up, the individual lost in the crowd becomes framed, as if in a mug shot."

-Stephen Andrews, 1997-98