Like Roy Lichtenstein and John Clem Clarke, Ken Aptekar draws on art history for much of his imagery. Unlike Lichtenstein and Clarke, however, he makes a point of hinting at the social as well as esthetic message.
Aptekar is an explorer of the male mystique and he gets good mileage out of juxtaposing men's "masculine" notions of themselves. Although Aptekar's social commentary seems, at times, a bit blunt, the viewer is continually being reminded - through wit, irony and distancing techniques - that "gender fictions" are great fiction. Aptekar has fun with his subject matter while incidentally piercing a good-sized hole in the male mystique.
Aptekar begins with other people's paintings, which he crops, colors and copies. Then he lays text over the images - personal reminiscences or musings sandblasted onto glass and bolted to the painting beneath.
Written and compiled by Jean Ershler Schatz, artist and researcher of Laguna Woods, California.
Gerrit Henry in Art in America, June 1990
Scott Heller in ARTnews
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