Unlike Brian Biedul (see previous post), Ted Fusby may confine his figures to boxes of a sort and stark, featureless landscapes, but his intention to highlight the male as possessor of a beautiful physique is plainly evident.
Fusby's work is almost flat and primitive in some regards with the refined male figures at odds with their environments in subtle ways defined by color fields and geometric shapes. The world these characters exist in has become a reduction of natural elements to zones where the men reside but, obviously, stand apart from. It is as if the fellows have found themselves existing in a world realized by Richard Diebenkorn or Mark Rothko, but denied of either artist's vitality.
Joy is not something derived from viewing this work. The subjects all bear stoic and inexpressive faces. There is not a display of overt emotion to behold. (Only in a portrait or two do men display teeth or a reluctant smile.) The message here is that you are meant to be seriously engaged in the objectification of these men. The bodies are for open and overt evaluation and appreciative appraisal, but these men are not naked for anything erotic beyond complete exposure (except in a very few pieces). Vulnerability is juxtaposed with physical strength and composure.
Fusby's men are all of a singular type with only slight variations in head hair and skin color. (The two muscular males I have highlighted in this post belie what most of Fusby's art embraces.) Each man is lean, smooth skinned, and muscular with small nipples and defined abdominal cavities. They all sport crew cuts. Were it not for variations of facial appearance they might all be clones of one another. Even those paintings that feature more than one male subject look as if the two figures are body twins. I am not certain that this is an intentional feature of the art or due to either an overarching appreciation of a singular male form or a lack of skill in portraying anything different. It isn't so much disconcerting as it is bland. And, indeed judging by the frequent dark and plain backgrounds, the blandness, like the facial stoicism, is probably intentional.
All these considerations aside, I still find Mr. Fusby's work interesting if only for his choice of color, shape, and the poses he chooses for his objects.