Ours is a time when the line of differentiation between boys and men is enigmatic and meandering. When is a male a “man”? Currently, juveniles are tried as adults for crimes, and many men over 18 live “at home” with their parents.

Concurrent with this uncertainty, the visual queues to manhood and boyhood have been confused by fashion and changes in the socio-economic landscape. A multitude of traditional milestones and their signifiers have become confused, delayed or discarded in recent generations of Americans. For example, graduation from college or the ritual of marriage no longer signifies an adult lifestyle. Many young people make a choice to expand the duration of their single lives in search of careers or merely in search of their “self.”

I am interested in this expanded adolescence, created by our contemporary society, this nearly eternal bachelorhood in which the qualities of man and boy intermingle in the body of a male indeterminately. This is the closest we have come to achieving an “eternal youth.”

As a woman this fascinates me. I see the dissolution and dispersion of male signifiers across all classes and races and am fascinated by the liberation of identity and lifestyle this brings. My work is not a critique of this phenomenon. Rather, it is an unveiling of this fascinating period in men’s lives and an appreciation for males of a society experiencing a multitude of social changes.

Stephanie Dean, Chicago