Jenny Saville Essay

3987 words - 16 pages

Jenny Saville, the British figurative painter creates art that concerns the nature of the body in the modern era. Rising to prominence in the mid 1990's, her work, often depicting female nudes in exaggerated grotesque states, being deformed, obese, mutilated or brutalized function as a dark reflection of contemporary fashion, as well as preconceived notions of female beauty. The morbidity of her representations, often bleeding or beaten women rebel against the idealised portraits of women pioneered by a male dominated field throughout the history of modern art, dating back to archaic Greece and the synthesis of the first paradigms of female beauty and the nude. With her work varying in style, links can be forged between other artists such as both Lucien Freud, as they share the same obsession for the human form and Peter Paul Reubens, for their similar manner of rendering human flesh. She cites her inspiration from everyday activities, and through critical observation she seeks to be "a painter of modern life, and modern bodies" with a particular emphasis on portraying bodies that are more common in society, such as the obese rather than the anorexic.Born in 1970, Saville went to the Lilley and Stone School in Newark, Nottinghamshire, for her secondary education. She would then go on to gaining a degree at the Glasgow School of Art (1988-1992), later being awarded the Craig award and the Newberry Award, which was a six-month scholarship to the University of Cincinnati. It was at Cincinnati that she sites inspiration for many of her works depicting overweight or obese women, stating that she saw "Lots of big women, Big white flesh in shorts and T-Shirts. It was good to see because they had the physicality that I was interested in". This reverence for physicality she, in part, credits to Pablo Picasso, the Modernist and father of Cubism as she saw him as an artist that made subject as if "they were solidly there…not fleeting" such as his 1903 portrait entitled 'Celestina', which depicts a blind woman; this painting would later serve as inspiration for Saville's own portrait of a blind woman,'Rosetta' painted in 2006. From 1992-1994 Saville Studied at the Slade School of Fine Art, and at the end of her postgraduate education she sold every piece from her degree show. Charles Saatchi, a preeminent British art collector, upon seeing her work in the 1992 exhibition "Critic's Choice" at London's Cooling Gallery offered Saville an 18-month contract, supporting her whilst she created the fifteen new works he had commissioned, which would later be exhibited in the Saatchi Gallery in London for the Young British Artist III show. With this new found patronage Saville quickly rose to critical acclaim and notoriety, with works such as 'Branded' being exhibited in shows at the Pace McGill Gallery in New York and the Museum of Kalmar in Stockholm. However it was not until the 1997 Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art, which was Charles...

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