Brooklyn-based artist Ray Sell's fun and elaborate collages depict colorful, playful worlds for manly men. Stand Yer Ground at Leo Kesting Gallery features Sell's surreal collages of Mad Men era images of businessmen in suits, pin-up girls in nothing or almost nothing, and impressionable, television-watching boys surrounded by stereotypically masculine imagery including Superman, soldiers, cowboys, guns, cigarettes, and beer. Also cleverly inserted into his canvases are actual bullets, coins, plastic army men, pills, dice, and bottle-caps. As the show's press release states, Sell reveals "the American male psyche" and "explores identity through both possessions and professions."
Sell's works explore the coming of age for American boys and the various social, cultural, and media influences that bombard them along the way. While Ray's vintage collages refer back to another era, it's easy to see that toys for boys and society's ideas of maleness haven't changed very much. Sell's balls to the wall works are witty, campy, and definitely stand their ground. Learn more at Leokesting.com and the artist's website Raysell.com. Through June 13th.