Royal Flush

royal flush30″ x 40″, Acrylic on canvas, 2004      (Collection of the Artist)

However, not all women have rushed to smother Riel with affection. In fact, some have serious reservations about his use of cartoon violence, and depictions of women in works such as “Royal Flush”. His critics tend to read such paintings literally rather than metaphorically, invariably inverting the artist’s original intentions, which he says are not misogynistic. Compounding the problem is the fact that trickster narratives are rarely what they seem at first glance. For example, according to Riel, “Royal Flush” decries the sexualization and exploitation of women in mass media magazines, and advocates flushing them down the toilet – the magazines, that is, not the women. – ALLAN J. RYAN, Riel Benn’s “Best Man”: An Unlikely Successor to Iktomi’s Trickster Legacy, AMERICAN INDIAN ART MAGAZINE, SPRING 2010

This piece is often scene as cruelty to women, but what it really is about is the over-sexualized world we live in. Sex on television, sex on magazines, sex on the internet, sex in music, sex in fashion. It just so happens that sex is often portrayed as the female figure or a part of the female figure. In this bizarre bathroom scene, the woman is really only a representation of all the sex that surrounds us. Here “The Best Man” regards the sexy legs as wasted beauty. Women are gift wrapped, they don’t have to take off the gift wrap in order to be beautiful, why do that, anybody can do that! – The Best Man

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