February 28, 2015

Force of Nature

Artist and agent provocateur, Dan Romer, finds beauty in the masculine.

by Nicole Haddad photographer Dan Romer

Homoerotic imagery dates as far back as ancient Greece, yet it has taken the modern world a long time to accept it in the same way as our age-old period counterparts. Twentieth-century artists such as Touko Laaksonen, aka Tom of Finland (1920-1991), and Robert Mapplethorpe (1946-1989) deftly maneuvered the outskirts of the art world, creating an erotic visual subculture that gradually became mainstream during their lifetimes. Today, creative sanctums like The Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art—which maintains an archive on over 3,000 LGBTQ artists, a very large collection of corresponding artworks, and a group of subsidiary galleries—have become a destination for collectors who recognize the increasing collectibility of gay-themed art. Provocateurs, such as New York-based artist Dan Romer, frequent the organization in search of a place to study and draw live models and exhibit their work.

Below The Belt (2014), Dan Romer
Below the Belt, 2014, Dan Romer

"Being a gay man and working with male models: there's an attraction, but then there's the norm of what gay figurative art tends to be," says Romer. "If the person is very good looking, I really want to subvert that and try to go against perfection. I like the blemishes, the hard angles that sometimes get brushed over when someone else is depicting male beauty." Romer's ability to capture viscerally his subjects' flaws through the synthesis of drawing and painting, color and texture, showcases a hypnotizing reveal of the beauty and depth of mankind.

A lifelong artist, Romer has recently found an increased desire to share his vision with a larger audience. And despite a prolific catalogue of artwork and a shows at venues such as the Prince St. Project Space, Romer still claims: "I'm just peeking over the edge and looking." Now that is a view from above!

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