Collection

Untitled
Christine Webster

1987

Christine Webster
b.
1958
Title:
Untitled
Production date:
1987
Accession No:
96/1
Measurements:
2 parts
Media:
Cibachrome photograph

Collection Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth. Gifted to the Gallery by the artist in 1996.

A feature of much of Christine Webster's work has been the inclusion of titles on cibachrome, so that the title, while providing an entry point to an understanding of the work, is also an integral part of the work itself. In 'Untitled', Webster leaves a blank space where a title might be expected to appear, introducing an element of uncertainty to a work whose subject matter has controversial and ambiguous undertones.

In some contexts the depiction of male masturbation could be clearly read as a pornographic image. However, in the context of Christine Webster's photography which is strongly based on the notion of overturning traditional stereotypes, the image is more likely to raise questions than provide answers. As Wystan Curnow noted in the catalogue essay for the exhibition 'Sex and the sign', in which this work was included, "'Untitled''s depiction of male masturbation is most clearly threatening to the male gaze. It isn't so much that this image is for women necessarily as that it is not for me, which is to say I have not as a man taught to 'stand back and watch myself' as if I were a female subject'.