Denver, CO, October 12-November 3
This story was featured in the October 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Order the Southwest Art magazine October 2012 print edition here, or purchase the Southwest Art magazine October 2012 digital download here. Or subscribe to Southwest Art magazine and never miss a story!
The nude. It’s the oldest state of human being-ness, yet artists continue to find new ways to express its timeless beauty and its ability to reflect the magnitude of diverse experiences in life. Having absorbed centuries of classical depictions of the draped or unclothed human figure, contemporary masters use the genre as a springboard for exploring their own distinctive artistic visions in sculpture or paint.
Works by 22 such artists are represented in the show titled Au Naturel: Art of the Human Form, opening on October 12 at Saks Galleries Cherry Creek in Denver. A gala reception takes place from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, October 12, and the show runs through November 3. Among the internationally acclaimed artists presenting a broad spectrum of approaches to portraying the nude are Quang Ho, Scott Burdick, Susan Lyon, Kim English, Michelle Torrez, and Daniel Glanz. “These works of art transcend sexuality and will, I hope, evoke a sense of wonderment about our physical being. Ever since Adam and Eve, the concept of self-awareness has created a dialogue about our relational place in the universe,” notes Saks Galleries co-owner Catherine Saks.
Participating artist John Asaro, who has spent decades painting the figure, often bypasses the preliminary study and dives straight into painting these days. “It’s an adventure, figuring things out as I go,” he says. The 75-year-old California-based artist delights in exploring color, as in CERULEAN POOL, which also allowed Asaro to play freely with abstraction in the refracted images of two women treading water.
AWAKENING WITH OREO by William Berra takes a more impressionistic approach to the nude. Well known for his vibrant landscapes and figurative work, the painter creates an intimate feeling in this early morning moment between a woman and her cat. Abstracted elements, soft edges, and muted shades of blue contribute to the painting’s quiet mood. As in all his figurative paintings, Berra says, “I think of it as a gestural portrait. It’s a feeling not of interrupting or observing, but just to catch the figure in the midst of everyday life.”
Michigan-based painter Jacquelyn Bischak has expanded on the concept of the classical nude in recent years with imagery she calls “modern-day classical.” These works fuse traditional aspects of figurative realism with elements drawn from the current-day world. ENTRE NOUS, for example, portrays a contemplative young woman with henna-streaked hair. She could have stepped off a city subway and into the diaphanous dance skirt that flows from her waist. The painting reflects Bischak’s passion for the timeless, inspirational, thought-provoking qualities of figurative painting, presented in a fresh way.
More than almost any genre, the nude in art expresses the essence of what it means to be human, Saks observes: “We see reflections of ourselves in works of art, and the resulting experience can bring us anything from innocence to intimate knowledge of the inner beauty in all of us.” —Gussie Fauntleroy
Featured in the October 2012 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
Southwest Art magazine October 2012 digital download
Southwest Art magazine October 2012 print edition
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