Monday, June 11, 2012

Size Matters: Scale of Jenny Saville

Christie's employee walks by a work by Jenny Saville

" I want to be a painter of modern bodies and modern lives" says British painter Jenny Saville

Seeing Jenny Saville's work in person must be far different than seeing them in books.  We thought of this when we saw the above pic.  Her paintings are larger than life.  One is able to see details of the body on a different scale allowing viewers to see the body up close, as if the viewer is an insect on the body.  Because the bodies are often disfigured, it makes the viewer uncomfortable.

To create these distortions in the body, Saville has observed operations at the clinic of a New York plastic surgeon ( she then painted black markings on the contours of their bodies), looked in medical books, and photographed herself pressed against plexi glass.  She often paints from the view of looking up at the subject.

To accommodate these large scale works, we wondered what her studio was like, so we did some research.  Her studio is in an  office building in Oxford owned by Pembroke College. Her work space was described by one reporter as " big as a small supermarket"

Although it is not the Tate, Saville is having her first retrospective show at the Modern Art Oxford.
More on Saville and her retrospective can be read at the Guardian article here:

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