Jenny Saville, Shift, 1996-1997, oil on canvas
While the four of us brought up many examples of art (Nascar is exempt from that classification because I still don’t understand that nonsense nor the people who enjoy it for that matter), I felt it best to highlight the artist with whom I declared as being one of my favorites. Her work is certainly not foreign to the eyes of art students, but unfortunately she is generally unknown to the greater public.
Jenny Saville’s work is interesting to me because it is so painterly. I like to use the phrase “material honesty.” The paint is obvious in its drips, brushstrokes, and color layering. Her paintings are obviously paintings, which isn’t always the case with other paintings. In contrast to that understanding, they seem so real. They seem so much more real than the pigment on canvas that make up their being.
Her subject matter is also of great interest to me. Like many people I am very fond of bodies. Human bodies have been at the center of artists’ minds since the beginning of object making. Saville follows in that tradition, but her work is obviously influenced by our own 21st century world. I am one to argue that her work could not exist before things like plastic surgery, contemporary pornography, digital photography, video, and modern feminist thought. We, as the audience, could also not see her work for what it is without being informed by that same world.
I encourage everyone to do image searches for her work. Consider it. Love it. Hate it. Converse about it. What else is all of this art stuff for?