Monday, September 8, 2008

The Figure

Reverse, 2003
Jenny Saville
oil on canvas
Gagosian Gallery

I would like to do a theme again this week, that of the figure. I plan on focusing on contemporary painting for it but may veer. The figure in painting today is fascinating for many reasons, particularly because many aren't aware of how much brilliant technical painting is being done today. These paintings go way beyond technique in their rich fullness and bold size (check out the dimension of this work). They really stand out on my new shiny laptop screen too!

Most of Saville's paintings focus on the reality of flesh and the figure, with more of the body exposed than this image of Saville's head on its side. Reverse is new to me, my research on Saville today introducing me to it and I can't seem to stop looking at it.

Jenny was discovered while still in art school, her massive paintings meeting with commercial and critical success. I've been familiar with Saville since the touring exhibition, Sensation, at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 1999. The show's contents caused a ruckus, though Saville's work was not amongst the highly protested works (see Damien Hirst and Chris Ofili). I remember much of the work in the show, but Saville's painting, Plan, stuck with me.

The Brooklyn Museum just put their collections online and is looking for YOU to help them tag their objects, to make searching easier. Play the Tag Game You're it!

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