Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Before I show you my own work I wanted to talk a bit about the artists that inspire me, and some of their work that I love.
Jenny Saville is a British Contemporary painter who specialises in huge, larger-than-life paintings of the female figure. She is one of my favourite artists for the following reasons: she is unique, she stands for something, and her work never ceases to amaze me.
Although in the art world I realise that there are many feminist artists that are equally as talented and thought provoking as Saville is, but to me there is something that seperates her from the rest. She has this attitude, she's so calm and in interviews she seems so collected; she knows who she is and what she's about, and I love that about her. But also the fact that she tackles so many heavy and controversial topics in her work while remaining calm and collected as a person, I love that she lets her work do the talking, which is why it's so powerful.


Top (left): Hybrid - 1997              (right): Bleach - 2008
Bottom (left): Plan - 1993            (right): Stare - 2005

Moving on to talking about the content of her work specifically, my favourite pieces of hers are
shown above. The fact that these paintings are described as shocking is the point behind them, Saville is not shocked by them at all and by painting these images on such a huge scale she is in away showing her acceptance of these people who are considered to be out of the 'normal'. I think what she is trying to achieve here is to make something that some people may find disgusting or repulsive (for example fat bodies, nakedness, trauma and violence victims and surgery) and represent it using a medium that is very sensual, and a medium that she finds beautiful - paint; 'I want to be a painter of modern life and modern bodies', and I believe this is what she does.
The feminist side to her work intrigues me, as I suppose this is quite subjective, as feminism means different things to different people. To me her work represents acceptance and liberation in a number of ways. Figurative painting was seem to to be quite a man's profession, with all of the greatest figurative painters throughout history being men, but I believe she is bringing this movement forward and creating one of her own. I also believe that Saville's view of the body and figure is very liberating too. She sees the body from a more structural and architectural perspective shown by her use of unusual angles that the subjects are painted from, and the contour lines and markings on their bodies; this could also explain her fascination with plastic surgery and operations.
Jenny Saville is a huge inspiration to me as an artist, and I just wanted to share that with you. I could ramble on about her all day but I won't do that to you! Instead I will leave you with a quote from her: 'Art reflects life, and our lives are full of algorithms, so a lot of people are going to want to make art that's like an algorithm. But my language is painting, and painting is the opposite of that. There's something primal about it, the need to make marks.'
Let me know if you enjoyed this post and what you think of Jenny Saville's work (be honest, I won't mind!). Thanks for reading.

Emily x

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