Jenny Saville is active/lives in England, United Kingdom. Jenny Saville is known for human form painting and drawing, classical and abstraction.
Biography from Gagosian Gallery
Following is an exhibition review from Gagosian Gallery of "Jenny Saville, Ancestors," May 3-July 20, 2018, published in The New York Times, June 7, 2018.
Biography from Gagosian Gallery
I’m trying to see if it’s possible to hold onto that moment of perception, or have several moments coexist... Like looking at a memory.
Gagosian is pleased to present “Ancestors,” new paintings by Jenny Saville.
In her paintings and drawings, Saville transcends the boundaries of both classical figuration and modern abstraction in her depiction of the human form. Her work reveals a deep awareness, both intellectual and sensory, of how the body has been represented over time and across cultures—from fertility goddesses and antique and Hindu sculpture, to Renaissance drawing and painting, to the work of modern artists such as Henri Matisse, Willem de Kooning, and Pablo Picasso.
In this exhibition, Saville depicts the body from the perspective of classical sculpture. The immense canvases recall archetypes from religion and mythology, such as the pietà and the Fates.
Saville has always been fascinated by the visceral palpability of the human body. In 1994 she spent time observing a plastic surgeon at work, in order to study the construction of human flesh, in much the same way as Renaissance artists did, in their study of bodies and cadavers, to produce anatomical drawings and écorchés.
In Saville’s new paintings, the marks and traces of painting and drawing merge with their sculptural subjects, as well as with the living, changing, and perishable forms that figurative art depicts. Each of Saville’s brushstrokes contains both the mass and musculature of the body, and the expression of line and gesture. Their physical and metaphysical layering evokes age-old questions pertaining to the representation of human flesh: narrow marks allude to the shape of forms, and broader marks to their internal surfaces.
The paintings in “Ancestors” envelop the viewer’s field of vision. The energy of the bodies, their raw human qualities, are often confronting in their improvised, non finito appearance, as if the forms—often of floating or indeterminate gender, and always subject to change—are emerging from an inchoate mass before our eyes. In painting the human body, Saville reflects the mutability of human behavior itself.
Jenny Saville was born in 1970 in Cambridge, England, and currently lives and works in Oxford, England.
Collections include the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; The Broad, Los Angeles; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego; and Saatchi Collection, London.
Recent institutional exhibitions include the 50th Biennale di Venezia (2003); Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Rome (2005); Norton Museum of Art, FL (2011, traveled to Modern Art Oxford, England, through 2012); “Jenny Saville Drawing,” Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology, University of Oxford, England (2015–16).
A major survey of works by Saville is on view at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, through September 16.
Jenny Saville was born in Cambridge, England in 1970. In 1990, midway through her BA course at the Glasgow School of Art, Jenny Saville exhibited in Contemporary '90 at the Royal College of Art. In 1992 she completed her degree as well as showing in Edinburgh and in Critics Choice at the Cooling Gallery, London.
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Following the success of her show at the Saatchi Gallery in 1994, which generated a great deal of publicity for her work (the images were ubiquitous that year), Saville went on to take part in the exhibition American Passion, which toured from the McLellan Gallery, Glasgow, to the Royal College of Art and the Yale Center for British Art in New Haven, Connecticut.
By 1994 many people were familiar with Saville's massive paintings, such as Plan, in which a naked woman is seen from below, her body filling the canvas through a combination of physical bulk and extreme foreshortening. Contour lines, as would demarcate the changes in altitude of land masses on a map, are drawn across the surface of the woman's skin.
Her work has been included in exhibitions worldwide including "Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collection", Royal Academy of Arts, London (1997, traveled to Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin and the Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York 1998-99); "The Nude In 20th Century Art", Kunsthalle Emden, Germany (2002, traveled to Arken Museum of Modern Art, Copenhagen in 2003); "Painting", Museo Correr, 50th Biennale di Venezia (2003); and "Paint Made Flesh", Frist Center for the Arts, Nashville (2009, traveled to the Philips Collections, Washington D.C. and Memorial Art Gallery, University of Rochester, Rochester, NY in 2010). In 2005, her work was the subject of a solo exhibition at the Museo d'Arte Contemporanea, Rome.
She currently lives and works in Oxford, England.
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