|Jeff Koons, Llona on top (Rosa Background) oil inks on canvas 96 x 144 inches 1990|
Nudes are nothing new in the world of art, the human form has been depicted since cave paintings and perfected through Roman sculpture and the Renaissance. The modern Nude made a splash with the help of photography and Edouard Manet's Dejeuner sur l'herbe. Bringing the form into the everyday and purposely realigning the audience with the reality of the model as present and meaningful.
Nor is it rare to see the artist as a subject and weighted content, as proven in Albrecht Durer's self portrait or much later with The House with the Ocean View by Marina Abramovic. For this post however, I want to focus on the contemporary use of the nude artist combo as a tool specifically in the work of Alia Magda Elmahdy, Terrell Moore, and Danny Guthrie.
However, the intimacy produced by proximity in the photographs and relationship to his models seem to produce aversion reminiscent of the before mentioned Dejeuner sur l'herbe. In the sense that like Manet, Guthrie produced controversy over the realm in which the models exist (Manet- everyday vs. Guthrie- Educational Institution).
Also, very similar to drama over Sally Mann's use of her children; questioning whether or not the artist used positions of power to produce nudes. Reflecting on Mann as the mother to her subjects like Guthrie is the Professor to his, meaning most importantly he holds their grades (or life for college students).
|Terrell Moore, Untitled #31, 60x36 ", mixed media on canvas|
Next lets talk about Narcissism, Terrell Moore's photography series of Terrell Moore nude, stained, and on canvas. This is a pretty big leap from most of his Exhibited work (except Bear a similar exhibit with a model instead of him) that typically involve the build up and reduction of collage through bleaching, tearing, spitting, and painting. Usually ending up with a large cross like structure made of exposed portions of discolored and recolored advertisements or smut.
His process is overly expressive which makes Narcissism even more out of place among his norm as it is completely inflective of him and him alone. Though unlike Guthrie I don't believe Moore was looking for the shock value instead I see a period of self release.
He mentions when asked about his other works that he doesn't see his creations as a channeling of himself or his being on canvas but rather a result of a process. In Narcissism Moore seems able to finally exploit himself on canvas in a bold attempt to produce the bare reflection of himself in the Gallery.
Lastly, Alia Magda Elmahdy (New York Times, New Statesmen, CNN) a student from Ciro who recently posted a self-portrait of herself on a blog that was taken down then reposted on twitter. The Photograph ingeniously traps the content in question between to alarmingly red focal points. Elmahdy has no disillusions about the danger she has put herself in for the sake of critiquing Islam and sexism, her boyfriend was imprisoned for 4 years after his own blogs were found by Mubarak's regime.
The negative reactions across the middle east also highlights the institutions debilitating constructs towards women and artist exploring sex or sexuality. I find it hard to imagine where Danny Guthrie or Terrell Moore or even my own work fit in all this.
The human form has proven to be an bold mode of expression that can provoke, release, and even expose the artist themselves as well as the audience. Seemingly vein like Jeff Koons, these artist truly explore themselves within the realms they function and express their needs as artist.