A career-spanning survey of the British painter who has reinvented the nude with forceful brushstrokes and anatomical precision
The internationally lauded British painter Jenny Saville transcends the boundaries of classical figuration and modern abstraction in her depictions of the human form. Colossal naked bodies dominate her oeuvre, rendered with all the “imperfections” of flesh intact. Indeed, Saville is deeply interested in the resilience and fragility of the human body, as well as its societal implications and taboos. Collecting material from pathology textbooks, plastic surgery manuals, chronicles of injuries and burns and similar publications, Saville often adds an observational perspective to her work by attending surgery demonstrations and visiting butcheries. She expresses this perspective through an aggressive use of scale, brushy, wide strokes and textures that extend long figurative traditions in painting, linking her to the forceful modernist style of Willem de Kooning and Francis Bacon. Her work also dialogs with the masters of the Italian Renaissance, Michelangelo in particular.
This volume contains a rich catalog of Saville’s paintings and drawings from the 1990s to today, coalescing the different currents of her formal and conceptual approach.
Jenny Saville (born 1970) studied at the Glasgow School of Art in the late 1980s and early ’90s before becoming associated with the loose generational cohort of painters and sculptors known as the Young British Artists (YBAs). She showed in the Royal Academy of Arts’s famed Sensation: Young British Artists from the Saatchi Collectionexhibition in 1997 alongside Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucas.