Opening Friday at the Lyman Eyer Gallery, 432 Commercial St. in Provincetown, artist Robert Sherer evokes childhood as many of us imagined it: joyful, innocent and very physical. The works are pyrographs, which are wood-burned images created with actual camp craft materials such as leather, wood, tarpaulin, lanyards and grommets. "Like many American boys I grew up in a world of sports, camping, scouting, and war gaming. The secret rites of passage and relationship intrigues played out in the locker rooms, pup tents, and tree houses helped to define me as a man. Because my youth most closely resembles the classic illustrations of camping guide books and scouting manuals of the 1950s and '60s, I have found it necessary to derive my biographical drawings from these visual resource materials." Sherer, himself a former Boy Scout, grew up in Alabama. “I had a classic American childhood. My dad worked in the aerospace industry doing contract work for NASA. Knowing my dad was building rockets for the moon put stars in my eyes.” Like fellow artist, Eric Fischl, Sherer's work is playful, yet matter of fact. The stirrings of attraction, affection and sexuality are rendered in an illustrative style reminiscent of the 60s, but with meanings that explore the generally untold, and unseen homoerotic side adolescent youth. In addition to the the pyrographs, Sherer is stunningly brilliant at appropriating the styles of neo-classical masters Boucher, David, Ingres, Jerome, and Bougereau, which has brought about censorship charges from the religious right who claim that Sherer perverts God’s natural order by placing men in women’s positions. Not unexpectedly,they are completely missing the point. It is astounding that an artist of this caliber should be subjected to criticism, but the infamy, in itself, has provoked a far greater awareness of his work. They are simply, beautiful. To see the full range of his talent visit www.robertsherer.com.
Note to George Michael: start collecting.