Jan-Holger consists of a series of oil paintings, smaller than Drechsel‘s typically large-scale canvases, but in common with many of her other works dealing with the concept of gender. Here is a man dressed in a bikini, posing as if for a magazine fashion shoot, his pose shifting between the ‘heroic male’ and what might be typically considered ‘the feminine’. Mainly depicted in wide shots, but also in some close-ups, Drechsel shows a person whose mood seems to switch between extreme self-consciousness and awkwardness, and one of fragile loneliness and vulnerability. Any sense of resolution is frustrated by the fact we do not know who ‘Jan-Holger’ really is. Drechsel plays with both his identity and his intimacy – is Jan-Holger a hustler, a model, indulging a cross-dressing fantasy, or being an exhibitionist?

Drechsel paints him in soft and pastel tones, in colours one might associate with a make-up palette. In some paintings the figure is depicted more clearly, in others it melts into an undifferentiated background, one that does not depict any recognisable physical place, but instead vanishes in a blurred space.

The Jan-Holger series was exhibited at the Vane Gallery in Gateshead, north-east England, in January and February 2008.