Thursday, January 18, 2007

My Art

Figures and Animals.
(Lovelands in USA move figure sculpture)

Up to now I have found that demand for my services as a sculptor has been split almost exactly 50/50 figures and animals. Only one of my figures was clothed. Only two were male. 75% of buyers of female figures were woman. All but one has been commissioned.

But when I read the lines in italics below written by a talented contemporary Artist (Miles Mathis), I was not surprised.

You, the artist, will discover very quickly that society's attitudes about the figure, and the figure in art, are anything but encouraging. There are a few connoisseurs who appreciate the unclothed figure, but by and large you will be swimming upstream.

It is quite extraordinary how much of the human race finds the lack of clothing a problem.

Our most deep-seated nihilism in this country, in this world, comes from, of all places, our religions. The most devout Christians in this country are the most offended by nakedness.

I accept the arguments that guilty thoughts, unwanted pregnancies, violence and abuse may be caused by the appreciation of the great master paintings of unclad figures in our churches. The break with Rome put a stop to that here in England and I am not aware of such images in Islamic places of worship! (Nor that this has any effect on our guilty thoughts etc.)

I wonder if the real reason is more to do with covering up our own souls not just keeping our bodies warm and making a personal statement.

So why does an artist want to create such a work of art?

What is behind the “wicked images” of Jenny Saville or Lucien Freud, where are the guilty thoughts, the unwanted etc…….now I ask?

Well they are both masters of painting “flesh”. They paint the real us or what we will probably become! That is enlightening and disturbing because we know it to be true, so sometimes we like to live in a fantasy world. Success in the cinema is proof of that. The artist who paints or sculpts the ideal figure creates something of our lost youth, something we as a race have been doing for 4000 years or more.

How many people, male and female are dissatisfied with their own figures?

So long live the images of idyllic beauty and long live the artists who recreate them.

Now animals fit in here as well. They too are Gods work without cloths!

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Blogger chris miller said...

I like good paintings of ugly people -- and ugly streets -- and even ugly, cluttered rooms.

But a beautiful painting of a beautiful person -- OK -- that's a religious experience.

(I'm thinking of that wonderfully endless series of beautiful women that Utamaro made -- each one reaffirming my faith in the universe)

11:58 pm  
Blogger Robert said...

Degas and Cassatt were not the only artists to see the merit in Japanese art and culture. Indeed the craze in London at the end of the 19th century brought us Gilbert and Sullivan’s Mikado and of course Puccini’s Madam Butterfly. The current influence of the Japanese is also reflected in Anime, now so popular in the West, and more seriously in photographic art as well as main stream painting (if that still exists!).
I too enjoy Kitagawa Utamaro’s work. Some of it very racy. There are horses for courses; not all his paintings fit into the “drawing room”!
Indeed I would have understood the fuss over the sacking of that American teacher for taking her pupils to the San Francisco museums’ collection rather than the Dallas one; just look at;

4:04 pm  
Blogger Marly Youmans said...

Hi Robert--

Chris ordered us to go look at Dorset, so I have taken a stroll down the page.

As for the Mathis comment, I guess I've been meeting the wrong sorts of people, as I haven't met any of that sort except in news articles. Seems to be a good healthy number of artists and art buyers who are Christian around here.

Just looked the fuss up. A Mormon bishop thought the sculpture would offend. Or it offended him, I suppose. The sculpture looks entirely too joyful and healthy and full of vim to offend. I believe that Mormonism is considered a separate faith from Christianity--no?

We haven't educated people in taste and a vocabulary for art is so long that the average person is flummoxed by being asked to look a new sculpture or to read a poem--even one using the traditional tools of those arts.

But it's a funny place for a complaint--they have foundries and 269 public sculptures...

5:22 pm  
Blogger Robert said...

In a country with 300,000,000 people you will have a variety of tastes and opinions. But the storms over the Loveland sculpture and the teacher being sacked attracted world attention! I just wondered why people were suprised?
There are lots of people “over here” that are offended by such things too, only on the continent of Europe is it less of a deal! I took my soldiers on a canoeing trip down to the south of France, we called it "adventure training" in 1973. We canoed down the River Ardeche from Le Pont d'Arc, a natural rock arch over the river just like the one we have on the Dorset coast. My driver was 18 or 19 and couldn’t keep the Landover on the road when he saw his first topless girl walking down the street. He was a white as sheet and we had to give him a minute to get his bearings back. It was a real hoot, and it cost him a round of drinks that night.

In canoes this time and further down the river we came round a bend and slap into a nudist colony. I had no trouble recruiting for the next adventure training expedition, which turned out to be skiing in Scotland!
Have at look at these pictures of the Ardeche, it was fantastic and much more fun than the over crowed beach at St Tropez. I hope that gives you some warm thoughts from a frozen village.Sorry you were ordered to visit my page, hope it wasn't too bad.

9:49 pm  

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