To my readers......

There will be a break in posting while I take my annual holiday in sunnier climes.
Back in October.
Thanks for visiting mitchmen!
(Sept 12th 2017)

Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Art of Baron

Baron - Injun Revenge
 
Baron has been producing photo manipulations with strong S+M flavours for some years now. This 2004 image of three Cowboys held captive and tortured by an Indian is quite well known. The power of the picture depends on the viewer's knowledge of the reputed cruelty of these tribesmen towards white men. It's suggested quite mildly by the pec cuts and details like the fire, but it's the wary expectancy of the third man staked out for attention in the cave that really invokes the sense of deadly threat. The lush muscularity and arousal of the foreground captives gives the picture an
erotic dimension for the viewer which is totally absent from the action. 

 Baron - The Arab Market

Cruel redskin stereotypes are pretty much consigned to history in our more enlightened times. The people of the Middle East are not so lucky, but but this fanciful invocation of a slave market is pure fantasy. Once again, we have three enviable, white hunks held captive, but this time they are facing an uncertain future in servitude. Presumably some cruelty will be involved, but as long as their new owners allow them ample use of gym facilities, they should be OK.

Observe how remarkably clean and uncrowded the market is, Baron's 'realism' is that of the glossy entertainment industry rather than 'warts and all' historical authenticity. This place is actually more akin to an upmarket bordello, where scarce gems like this can be constantly recycled for greater profit. 
Baron  - Germanicus Divine
 
Baron's settings go back to Medieval times and Ancient Rome and he's on safer ground depicting the cruelty and punishments from those eras. In this crucifixion scene, once again, it's the knowledge of what is to come that drives the drama, although the use of ropes instead of nails and the traces of cuts and bruises give ambiguous messages. The expression of the naked victim as he watches the arrangements for his demise being dispassionately completed around him is quite arresting. The crowded perspectives in this picture are not entirely successful, but highly dramatic, lending a purposeful bustle and complexity to the gang's activities.

Baron - The Stripping
These anonymous, 20th Century soldiers appear to have a more earthy fate in mind for their vanquished enemy, much like other military victors down the ages. Baron's models always look buff, clean and well-groomed and that serves the erotic purpose, but they do seem more at home in modern uniforms.

Baron does not simply assemble figures into a composition but manipulates and combines small details from different pictures with remarkable skill, blending of the different elements together so fine that it is difficult to 'see the joins' and they appear to be real photographs at first. 


Tatanka's Triumph (2013)

I particularly like Baron's 'Western' scenarios and this more recent picture shows his ability to create broad sweeping, epic-style images. The ominously circling birds are a recurring motif, they even crop up, surreal fashion, in indoor scenes sometimes. The separate detail image illustrates his careful construction of erotic flavouring using clothing, just enough to stimulate the imagination. The surprising glimpse of heart pattern underwear, linking to the present day, makes you wonder what sort of ritual is really being enacted here. 

Baron - Disciplines of the Sodomites (detail)

My final example is also a detail of a larger work and I've included it because it is such a beautiful image, not just for the men and the clever use of sexy clothing, but for the interesting, uncluttered setting and the marvellous balance of colours and the lighting which seems to shine out of the picture like an old master. The arrangement of domino-like tiles on the floor appears to be some sort of test and the sense of expectancy created by the on-lookers, next in line is very clever.

Baron sells his work and he protects his copyright by usually releasing only low resolution images and details of larger pictures like those reproduced above. He offers his work for sale through the Subterranean Yahoo Group, publishing tantalising teasers there for lurkers to enjoy. Some of his work can also be seen at Chained Muscle, but you have to pay to see more than a thumbnail.

For reviews of other artists not part of the A-Z series click on the artists label below.

2 comments:

speedoric said...

Baron an d his Oz collaborator (Borg)are two of the great gay artists of our time.

Mitchell said...

Agreed. I intend to do an article on Borg as well in due course.