WHAT LIES BENEATH
ST Sebastian was shot full of arrows and later cudgelled to death — but Sandro Botticelli’s 1474 depiction of the Christian martyr got artist Andrej Getman thinking.
“Botticelli’s Sebastian looks so laid-back with a no-bother, nopained expression. It’s a selfie.”
Getman fast-forwarded, explored how the male nude is represented today in advertising, art, in “messing-around sexting” and created 43 paintings in six weeks, all called Untitled. He works to music, “dancing sometimes”, and his canvasses zing and flow.
Getman, from Klaipeda, Lithuania, grew up “in a postSoviet era with a non-acceptance ideology of personal identity and sexuality”. His family moved to Castleblayney when he was 18 — but he stayed on in Lithuania on his own, to finish school.
Visiting Monaghan only once during that year, when he came here for good, he felt he “was coming home”.
That was 2005. First, factory work, then coffee shops, then a business IT and finance course, “to which my body said ‘No!’ It made me sick”.
Eventually, Getman found freedom at NCAD. “They don’t try to shape you, they welcome whatever you can bring to the table. And everything changed when I discovered Brian Maguire.”
This painting explores narcissism and cy ber exhibitionism. Naked male selfies, “online time capsules” are “dismantled into fragmented pieces” and transformed into “simple organic forms and lines”.
He connects with selfies, knows “every movement and set-up in making them. A naked selfie is made in a safe environment, a cocoon. It preserves your young, beautiful self, just like Michelangelo’s David does. Thickness of paint matters, as does “the negative space, say between arm and body”.
In this work “there is an outlined figure on the left, in that bold red line, there’s a shadow figure, top right” but nothing explicit. And that twisting yellow shape? For Getman, “the internet is a mysterious, digestive system, a big, online organ that works nonstop. What is wi-fi? Remember Homer Simpson trying to catch an email in his hands to prevent it being sent?”
Next? A master’s degree. Do Berlin, Amsterdam, NYC beckon?
“Let’s break that idea of having to become famous elsewhere first. Why not try for it here in Dublin?” Go Getman! This man Getman gets it.