Thank you very much for writing me. The
diversity of meaning available to the nude in art is
an interesting topic to me and I like your title.
I'll answer your questions in order:
I've been thorougly trained in the art of
drawing the human figure from life. My training as a
specific focus began under the tutalage of Janet
Cardiff who presented her students with options
regarding the body politic. I was taught the academic
approach by Herb Hicks. My final year or two of
figure study was taught by Robert Sinclair who ran a
mediatative class. I spent that time drawing the
nude in a daily three hour physical excercise withvery little instruction.
In school I had discovered what you have
indicated in your title: The human body carries a
vast potential and history of meanings. so does the
figure painting where things about people are stated.
The preconcieved rendition of the human form isalmost
irresistably stylized to state something about the
human condition. Observational painting, moreover,
is a slow meditative approach to making thatstatement.
Here are some abstract ideas that have been
represented by the human figure: physicality,
efemorality, liberty, grace, violence, biology,
mortality, fragility, divinity...., an endless list
of abstract ideas personified in figure paintings.Once
we know we have that ability - What are the ideas we
want to express? How do we want to represent
ourselves? The questions availavle to the figure
artist are literal ones. How does the figure sit?
what is its setting? Are the colors true to life,
realistic, or are they otherworldly? Should the
figure be veiled in darkness, mysterious? should it
be well lit, available for scrupulous observation,
exposed, obvious? Lit by the sun or a candle?
The process by which I was taught by every
teacher without exception is that of association. We
are reminded to place our feet in the same position as
the models, our hips, our spine, shoulders. By this
process we impose on our own work assumptions about
our own humanity. We are taught to be aware of where
weight falls and tensions sit contrary to the
sensations of relaxation and lightness. Through these
means we become resensitized to the business of having
a body and being alive in one.If you follow the line
down he face or the arm of one of Freud's subjects you
can get the idea of how he would go about washing his
feet, preparing salad, caressing his children.
I give some ideological consideration to the
ideas about cropping. My figures normally outstretch
the confines of he picture plane. They are suggested
to exist beyond it. Sometimes they appear to me as if
they're about to leave. I never crop a figure in such
a way as to dismember it, but rather, suggest its
ontinuity beyond the plane of its objecthood. The hint
of the subject's ability to change or move, I think,
is important ideologically, and I'll express it with
lines particular to flesh, describing its maleability
as opposed to its statuesqueness. This is a long letter Sarah-Louise.
No, painting's not porno. I'll write you a letter
why if you really get stuck. Porno just doesn't
comprise of the same language I described.
Pornographer's don't have the same ideas in mind. Sure
nude art is sensual and can be even a tool for sexual
liberation. I'll have to write you later If your still
researching. If you still need some answers.