By Angela Romeo
We come into the world naked. That is the way it has always been and very unlikely to ever change. We are told Adam and Eve were naked in the Garden of Eden. They were innocent and unembarrassed about their nakedness. But the Bible says that after they ate from the Tree of Knowledge and then they hid their nakedness, clothing themselves in fig leaves. Why the fear of nudity? Where along the way the road of evolution did naked takes on nefarious connotations? Modern societies tend to frown upon nudity and we create laws to prevent it. The arts, we embrace it. The study of the human form continues to fascinate artists. Figure drawing is required in many art curricula. But still some societal norms seek to suppress art that embraces the nude.
But many artists remain unbowed to the heavy handedness to suppress what is natural. Opening Saturday at Colliding Worlds Fine Art Gallery artists Terry Hastings, Alane Levinsohn and John Kenneth Alexander will present As God Intended. This exhibition will feature a celebration of the human form.
“RuPaul said ‘We are all born naked, and the rest is drag.’ And RuPaul is correct,” noted Photographer Terry Hastings. “I wonder why people are freaked out by the naked body. I believe it is because nudity represents freedom. That is why religions create clothing, as shackles, from prayers shawls to magic underwear to hats to burkas. They are all attempts to shackle the body and hold us down, because without clothing we would be FREE.”
“My work is about Man’s relationship to the Earth – struggle and then the joy when something is accomplished. This story can only be told without clothing. No giggling. No pointing. No acting like little school children. Yes he has a penis. Some penises are different sizes… Behave! I’ll fill the rest of this in tomorrow,” continued Terry.
Terry’s work allows the nude to be a part of the surroundings. Whether the figure is in motion or as still as the earth below him, there is always the feeling that the figure and the landscape are one. There is no demarcation – no elevating one over the other. There is a perfect unity.
For artist Alane Levinsohn there is unabashed celebration of the human form. “I paint from life. Real people, all perfect in their imperfections,” said Alane. “For me, painting from life, it is the subtle movement of breathing, the slight drift of a pose that makes the painting more real, more lifelike. The figure shifts in almost imperceptible ways to convey life.”
“In many of my paintings, the subject is unaware of the viewer, either lost in thought, preoccupied or drifting off to sleep. In other works, when the subject in the painting engages the viewer, it is with confidence and comfort in her own nudity,” continued Alane.
“My paintings explore finished and not finished, complete and incomplete allowing the viewer to complete the painting. As a draftsman first, I am not adverse to white paper or canvas that serves as a blank background space hinting at the surroundings. The background allows the viewer to perceive the context however they imagine it.”
For John Kenneth Alexander, his philosophy can be summed up succinctly. “For me I’m interested in the presence of the figure rather than its details. I prefer to convey form and volume through gestural mark making with as little information as possible. I’m obsessed with the torso as an object, a vessel. Figure drawing is not only an investigation of how the elements of anatomy connect but also a study of the eroticism of those elements.”
As God Intended opens Saturday, at Colliding Worlds Fine Art Gallery, 68895 Perez Road, Cathedral City, with an artist reception from 5- 8 pm.
For more information on the work of Terry Hastings visit www.The Hastings Gallery.com. For more information on the work of Alane Levinsohn visit www.alane.fineartstudioonline.com. For more information on the work of John Kenneth Alexander, contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.