Onanism isn’t the easiest art subject. ‘The Great Masturbator’, 1929, is some way from Dali’s best, even though the practice was close to his heart: it is said that he was an addict who, afflicted by various fears and hang-ups, practiced no other sexual activity. Nor does much of Sarah Lucas’ reputation ride on the ‘wanking arm’ stream of her work, or Sterling Ruby’s on his film ‘The Masturbators’.
All the more credit, then, to Tom Worsfold for an appropriately seductive and humorous treatment of the theme in his recent show at www.carlosishikawa.com/exhibitions/apparition/” target=”_blank”>Carlos / Ishikawa. The diptych ‘DIY’ seems to show in the left hand panel the rather alarming use of a vacuum cleaner for purposes of self-relief, and in the comparatively empty right hand panel, deadpan instructions for turn-on and insertion. It all has the hit and miss air of the other sort of DIY, at least when I attempt it. Perhaps there’s a play, too, on the self-absorbed act of painting itself. Worsfold depicts a range of modern scenarios in parallel manner: waiting around, commuting, relaxing at an airport terminal: all sneak rather beautifully washy acrylic-as-watercolour patterned tactility into the environs of often partial glimpses of a Robert Crumb-ish type whom I take to be a self-portrait of sorts. Don’t overdo the suction, Tom, we’d like you to live to make more paintings!
Most days art Critic Paul Carey-Kent spends hours on the train, traveling between his home in Southampton and his day job in London. Could he, we asked, jot down whatever came into his head?