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The Beach Will Get Whatever Body I Give It
Dwayne Butcher
The Beach Will Get Whatever Body I Give It
2019 | acrylic on canvas | 30x20 | $1500

Passive-aggressive, witty, snarky, honest. These are adjectives that describe your typical Southerner and also Dwayne Butcher’s art. Black base with white letters, his work says the things we all want to say to our mothers-in-law but would only dare mutter under our breaths. Butcher’s examines normal conventions of gender identity and social class, exposing the absurdity of American expectations of bodies and social performance through common phrases and expressions.

At impulse, we laugh at Butcher’s quips but we are made to quickly recognize the weight of words. Thank goodness someone finally told Karen that no one cares about her diet, but perhaps someone should tell Karen she shouldn’t either. Butcher writes of his work that “As individuals, what we post on our social media accounts is not reality, rather it is our ideal selves. How we want the world to see us. It is hard to have an ideal self when you eat way too many chicken wings, and constantly worry about what others think of you, even for the big tough guys out there. So, let’s embrace it. Let’s confront that body image issue directly.”

Butcher tells it like it is but he goes one step further and puts it on canvas so we can all have the guts to say it, too. Well, probably not but we all need the validation that we one day could. It only takes that. Thanks for the emotional support, Butcher!

Dwayne Butcher was born in Arkansas and lives and works as an artist, writer, and curator in Memphis. He received his MFA from Memphis College of Art and BFA from the University of Memphis. He has exhibited work in Paris, Helsinki, Milan, Amsterdam, Washington D.C., New York, Los Angeles and Chonging, China. Articles about his work and community art projects have been published in the New York Times, Washington Post, Hyperallergic, Art21 and Big, Red and Shiny. His own writing has been published in the Memphis Flyer, Burnaway and BMore Art. Butcher is Director of Digital Content for Rhodes College, Memphis.

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