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Exhibition: Clip Cut Gel, or masculinity explored through 80s barbershop photos

If you've ever gazed at those faded barbershop model shots, of men you can't imagine ever meeting, sporting hairstyles that never age beyond the 80s, then you'll love this new exhibition by artist, Julia Riddiough.

The angle of Clip Cut Gel is modern masculinity: male grooming, gender politics and the gaze and what it means to be a man today.

The photographs above, titled (from left to right), Playboy, Toyboy and Rough Trade, are part of the exhibition, which takes place online, at the website of innovative east London gallery, A Brooks Art, which Riddiough also owns.

The show will also pop up in local high street barber shops and at regional UK art festivals along with live performances by a barber shop quartet. And you can watch an intriguing accompanying film, focusing on the three throwbacks above...


The models featured were picked by Riddiough from male hairdressing magazines she's collected since the 1980s. As she explains: "The portraits reveal amplified masculine characteristics; drawn from male stereotypes that we see in the visual language that surrounds us everyday...[and] Clip Cut Gel plays with the way the male is looked at and builds it into a spectacle itself. Here the image of the man is seen as passive and raw material for the active gaze of the spectator."

The photographs are also for sale, in limited editions of 50.

I've written about A Brooks Art gallery before (so-titled as it was the name of the long-standing florist who had previously owned the site) when it was exhibiting a wonderful selection of photographs of abandoned cinemas.

To find out more about the artist and the gallery, check out Julia Riddiough's website and A Brooks Art. See more about the exhibition, including live dates, at the Clip Cut Gel page.

Images © Julia Riddiough

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