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Wednesday, 20 July 2022

Oztangles Retrospective 2

Read Part 1 of this series

2010

Oztangles - Shocking

 In 2010, Oz stepped up a gear fetish-wise with this depiction of an electro-trial. The facial expression of the subject, a sort of stoic bewilderment, is very effective. I am not usually a fan of long hair but it seems to work here. In combination with a hairy body it seems to indicate a social gulf between him and his neatly turned out captor who is wearing a cap with 'Security' written on it. 

Whatever his day-job, he has changed into a different persona here wearing a leather leotard to deal with this intruder. There's a powerful sense of cold experimentation as he sits at his desk and fiddles with switches, casually looks round to observe what the results might be. 

In this year Oztangle's hieroglyphic logo and dates first begin to appear on his pictures.


Oztangles - Defiance

'Defiance' revisits the 'Garage' scenario from 2009, bringing forward the hairy captive who was suspended in the background then to face his own hour of reckoning. He gets a different treatment compared with his predecessor and from a new tormentor, but the equipment is the same, although it's function here is unclear. The title suggests his vividly erotic response is not what the captor intended.

Although the men conducting both these trials have dressed for sex, they seem content to watch their victim's responses from their remote keyboards rather than getting close up. That sense of distance and control is very apparent in this image, with the results of the victim's excitation splattering uselessly onto the ground in between them.


Oztangles - New Meat

Back-alley pick-ups and sex feature regularly in Oztangles images. I particularly like the biker in this one, casually leaning forward as though he's just pulled up to survey the new prospect. He's not dressed like a leather man, wearing only a jock and 'beany' hat which gives him a youthful, adventurous look. It's a similar appearance to one of the protagonists in 'Alley Cats' (2007)  

The would-be seducer exhibits a knowing eagerness somewhat at odds with his 'rough trade', tattered clothing. His slinky, somewhat feminine pose might put off a regular, leather biker, but it seems to have succeeded in grabbing this one's attention.



Oztangles - Rick Balls

The retrospective connections in 2010 continue with this interesting reworking of 'To The Edge' (2008). The space age restraint unit unit has been repainted a more sober black here. However, there's a total absence of fetish garb and no restraint in evidence, suggesting it's a scene of purely consensual exploration and experimentation going on. 


Oztangles - Acupuncture

This image is more ambiguous in that respect with the subject restrained in a purpose-designed frame to undergo some of the darker arts of S&M. It is a pretty intense scene, but the restraints look comfortable and undemanding. Moreover his 'Master' for this piercing procedure, depicted with blond hair and white jock, does not seem particularly threatening or deeply versed in the ritual. He shows great concentration as he applies himself to his task.



2011

Oztangles - Ophiuchus

2010 and 2011 were prolific years for Oz and that's made it easier for me to find S&M-ish images for Part 2 of this mitchmen survey but I don't claim my selection is fully representative of his output, much of which is devoted to creating beefcake shots and portraits of diverse characters in various garbs and locations. This one is an interesting example.

Ophiuchus is the name of a constellation in the galaxy commonly represented as a man entwined by a serpent. It's also claimed by some to be the 13th sign of the Zodiac and as such Oz has included it here in a series of inventive interpretations of those signs which he produced in 2011. 

You can see he has borrowed a classic pose from the Old Masters as the basis of this composition. It's one normally employed for women, the obvious example being Botticelli's 'Birth of Venus'. The cant of the man's head and his sun-shaped sceptre lend an air of South Asian calmness and mysticism to the image and he's given it an appropriate, temple-like setting. 

Oz seems to have interpreted the snake here as a sexual tempter, loosely coiled around his target and lustfully eyeing the goods which have already yielded to temptation. The eroticism is quite restrained but however you view it, it's quite a pleasing image.


Oztangles - Blue Reflections

This is a good example of the artist's experimentations with render effects. It's based on a character who might have been used in one of his 'Back Alley Sex' images, a handsome hustler simmering with sexuality, but giving an alluring impression of shyness (see also 'New Meat' above). It's possible to see this as a 'sounding' image, but more likely it's simply an example of edging and sticky fingers.  

The sexuality inherent in his pose means that the effect of surrounding him with blue bubbles does not create an idealised, dream-like effect so much as the impression of bubbling, erotic sensations. He seems cloaked in a tactile 'environment' which accentuates his nudity. These also a sense of fragility that goes with the bubbles matching his libido, teetering on the edge. 

The glass column against which he is leaning is capable of phallic interpretation and also fragile in it's own way. It also looks half full for some reason but I suspect it's mainly decorative and a vehicle for some clever reflections.

I will provide links to Oztangle's galleries, where you can view the full range of his work, at the end of this review.


Oztangles - Nightmare 4

Fantasy figures invade this this man's sleep in the 'Nightmare' series. They are intent on nipping him with fingers and a selection of crushing devices of varying severity. The clips on his thumbs and the garotte-like device around his neck are unusually nasty torments for fetish art, more likely to be used in real torture chambers than play scenes and they add a discomforting tang of realism. Miraculously, his cock and balls seem to have been spared attentions so far, although we do not know how the ghoul's pincers or the wares on the table are to be employed. That uncertainty is part of his nightmare. 

I tend to think that torture chairs are an odd concept, the seated position offering bizarre comfort to the condemned man and restricting access to him by his tormentors. In this case it offers him the possibility of escaping the prodigious member nudging his back.

We would frown upon the dwarf-like figure being cast as a villain these days, the character appears dressed as a clown in other scenes (another faux pas?). That dilemma also cropped up in the mitchmen article on BlackProf. The character here seems to owe something to the Batman comics and that ilk.


Oztangles - After The Battle

There's a further flirtation with tricky stereotypes and cruel realism in this picture in which a selection of defeated warriors have been stripped naked and hung on the victor's stockade. Displaying prisoners in this way is an emphatic assertion of control that has it's erotic aspects, illustrated by the parting in the chieftain's loin cloth. Historically, however, it's not simply a humiliation prior to imprisonment, but a permanent punishment and the circling birds are already anticipating that grisly outcome. 

This panoramic composition is not as successful as other images of this period. It seems technically less sophisticated. That's because the characters are diminished in size, so the background setting assumes more significance. In fact the pictures immediately above and below have equally simple backgrounds, it's one of their virtues.


Oztangles - Discipline

This image seems to revisit the 'Garage' scenario with electrically-driven hoisting equipment being deployed to raise a naked captive whose arms and feet are spread-eagled, X-fashion, by separator bars. The villain of the piece (or so he appears) is a striking figure, mature and chunky with impressively ripped muscularity for a man of his bulk. He casually surveys his captive with an undisguised erection that makes the nature of his intentions pretty clear. 

By comparison, his victim is slender, shapely and looks vulnerable. The title suggests this is a 'master and slave' or a 'boss and worker' scenario. The big man's, slightly incongruous leather pants suggest the former but his victim's long hair is not exactly fetishistic and he doesn't radiate experience in the way his captor does. With no sign of any discarded clothing it's hard to tell what their relationship is but there's no doubt about the procedure that is about to occur. The scattering of dildos and spreading of the captives' legs are self-explanatory (to us if not him). The presence of electrical gadgetry nearby adds the prospect of extremity that one suspects this man may find challenging. 


Oztangles - Out For A Walk 2

This unusual image daringly explores the wilder, earthier aspects of an imaginary master-slave relationship. It's paired with another image in which the sub is taken for a walk on the street like a dog and shown pissing on a rubbish bin, but for me this image is more interesting. It shows the sub endeavouring to master the art of pissing accurately while locked in a chastity device. 

His dom stands behind watching his efforts and getting off on the embarrassing spectacle he has engineered by caging him. His camp net T-shirt and sneakers paint him as a rather improbable dom to old fashioned eyes, particularly in comparison with his sub. Perhaps he's just starting out on that road but to coin a phrase, 'clothes do not a dom make'. I find it easier to imagine this as a boss-worker scenario than the preceding image. 

It's probably a matter of age, individual personality and cultural background whether you perceive there to be a racial dimension to this image. If you do the reversal of the stereotypically assumed, pecking order here is interesting but it's a stronger effect in the dog-walking, companion image. That schadenfreude effect is also present in 'After the Battle' (above), but in a rather more drastic form.



Oztangles - Welcome Home


I've chosen a refreshingly different picture to round off Oz in 2011 and in some ways it's the most convincing and erotic of the lot. There are some issues with the feet but that doesn't detract from the emotional effectiveness of the image. The simple passion of reunited lovers is expressed as being both romantic and lustful, although in real life lust after a long journey is a dish reserved for the young! The minimal, tidy background here underlines their preoccupation with each other. The soldier's side cap, discarded on the floor symbolises his escape from the restrictions of the military and return to normal life (temporarily at least). For gay men that situation has all sorts of political overtones, peculiar to the time.

~

This mitchmen review of Oztangles art continues in Part 3



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