In Uncategorized on November 3, 2012 at 1:09 pm

ImageNudes are interesting to do, but they aren’t exactly a preoccupation of mine. It may seem counter-intuitive to what is assumed of artists, given the constant portrayal of male artists as temperamental sex-obsessed individuals only a few steps removed from common definitions of a pervert. My friends are often surprised when I tell them I only paint nude figures when I can’t find an excuse to keep them clothed. And I truly work very hard to avoid including nudes in my works. Why? you may ask, well, it makes it easier to exhibit work in the South, which is filled with galleries that are very concerned about anything that isn’t reduced to the sensibilities of children. (I could go on to mention that I don’t think parents with children ought to believe everything in art has to take the fact they have children in consideration when exhibiting anything.) 

Another is, I’m not so willing to deal with having to ask models to pose nude these days. Which is actually ironic in a way, because, unlike when I started out painting way back in the 90’s, it was significantly much more difficult to recruit models to pose nude than today. In fact, there are several models that volunteer to pose nude even before I consider whether a particular painting needs a nude. And while one might think, I surely would take advantage of every opportunity to produce a nude, the fact is, I don’t.

Each painting follows a narrative stream with a visual language familiar to symbolic themes typically dealing with tableau conforming to concepts articulating modes of perception, psychology and degrees of philosophy. Many narrative themes have very little to do with sexuality, however when nudes are necessary, I tend to paint the figure to indicate observed conflicts between what Americans have been socialized to believe in terms of equating the body with only sexual objectification (you can thank generations of media for that) while also placing the figure within a context that challenges those associations, thereby providing a conflicting perceptions.

 Yet, as an artist, it is important to draw and paint the nude, and for those daring to dabble in realism, frequently. If for no better reason than acquiring a well-rounded grounding in human anatomy, perspective and of course accurate proportion. Historically, only artists with a mastery of the nude figure was considered true artists because unlike several portrait painters of the academic period, there was always a question of exactly how legitimate their skills were when most of their figures was dressed. And while the concern for conservative presentation was an indication of refined civility to be admired, in art, there was enough leeway amid the known visual language of art to make room for admiration of technical skills for which accuracy of the nude figure was also admired.

These days, except for high academia barely relateable to common experience, much of this visual language is unknown.  Well that’s the breaks, but for those willing to remain open to another way of interpreting the figure, beyond empty commercial and socialized perceptions of exploitative sexuality and prurient objectification, the nude can be a symbol of truth in identity as well as a defiant stand against conventions of shame. There is a difference between the exposed and the revealed, one requires courage the other submission to fear.

 So when I actually produce a painting with a nude figure, it doesn’t happen without extensive considerations pertaining to a desire to communicate the best possible narrative tableau with the best visual narratives available.   



In Uncategorized on October 27, 2012 at 12:41 pm

   From time to time, I’ve been asked the question, would I want to be a contestant on “Work of Art, the Next Great Artist.” And I’ve always replied, “no.”

  For those unfamiliar with the program, it is one of those reality game shows based on the weekly elimination format, where, on the basis of what seems to be fairly dubious criteria, a group of judges dismisses a contestant that fails to measure up, this time in terms of the art created by the artist/contestant. And like most of these reality shows produced in the elimination format, dismissal if often a debasing and humiliating experience. Rejection in the art worlds, particularly where juries are a factor provides enough rejection that the notion of broadcasting one’s failures to a TV audience surely cannot be appetizing.

   My reason for why I wouldn’t want to be a contestant is pretty simple. In a nutshell its called: self-respect. another word is, personal integrity, well that’s two words, but essentially those are my reasons. Of course I’ve been asked to expand upon these principles in relation to my feelings about “Work of Art,” and in an attempt to clarify my position, which I sometimes worry might be a bit high-minded, I try to keep things simple. And as usual I utilize analogies and memories from my own past experiences as I interpret them. For one, it goes to the question of why I do art. The foundation of which puts forth a motive and thus explains what art is for me. 

  I enjoy making art. I enjoy creating art on my terms. Were I to participate on “Work of Art…” I wouldn’t enjoy it because the format of the contest isn’t based in part on creating work on one’s own terms. Rather, one goes about with a group of other artist frantically attempting to fulfill some rather silly themes dreamed up by a panel of very elitist judges for later critique within a set time limit. If your work meets the approval of the same judges, you either win a variation of that weeks contest or you are allowed to continue participating without elimination. At the end, if you’re last person standing you get a lot of money and acknowledgement from a lot of established art peers that yes, you are in fact, the next great artist.

  When I produced paintings during my two year stint at Golden Belt, I wasn’t particularly bothered by whether my paintings sold or not. I never thought of painting as a job nor hobby, but a way of life. However, our present culture is driven by strong monetary considerations and anything produced with regard to value is also thought to have presence as a commodity destined for a market.

   Well, stuff like that doesn’t mean that much to me, because art is fun on its own without worrying about what a group of suspect judges think.   


In Uncategorized on October 21, 2012 at 4:03 am

Adam Narcross 2005 Oil on CanvasImage