In mid-century Britain Lucien Freud brought new life to figurative painting but by the 1990s the painted nude had fallen on hard times. Then, thankfully, young british artist Jenny Saville came along with her oversized canvases and the nude was again alive and well.
You can view a previous post on Jenny’s exhibition ‘The Mothers’ – at the Gagosian Gallery in New York here.
Saville rose to prominence with a series of paintings that suggested a measuring, marking or constricting of the female form. Later works explored the boundaries between states of the body, medical and social categorisation, and between life and death. In the Stare series, the artist uses a single found image as a starting point for a number of works, with the face of the subject repeatedly reworked in layers of paint. In new works presented at the Ashmolean Museum and Modern Art Oxford, Saville takes inspiration from Renaissance Virgin and Child paintings to create highly gestural, multi-layered works on paper. Combining dynamic poses and sensitive detail, these drawings offer a unique reflection on motherhood, one that is both universal and highly personal.
Jenny Saville’s retrospective, the first solo exhibition of work in a UK public gallery, is taking place at Modern Art Oxford until 16th September 2012.