100 artists - Group exhibition. Curated by Dan Coombs and Phillip Allen. Touring Exhibition.
Phillip Allen and Dan Coombs have asked over 100 artists to make paintings of the nude. Many of the paintings will be unseen before the hang, and the artists hope the show will create a rich network of images that will establish a context for representation of the body in contemporary painting.
In recent decades the idea of the nude has been in decline in art‐school: life drawing is no longer practiced widely, ideas and research are currently preeminent. The tradition of teaching painting in British art schools has grown out of non‐referential painting, abstraction and formalism; and the objective, realist tradition of painting the figure died with Euan Uglow.
Would it not be apposite then, to take a look at this neglected genre? The nude seems ripe for a reawakening; it is an implicitly psychological genre, tapping directly into the artistic psyche.
The show is an aesthetic experiment presenting a comprehensive range of responses to the subject. In part, Coombs and Allen’s interest lies in the idea of imposing a subject onto the participating artists, or taking away the normal responsibility the artist necessarily has for their subject. Or, giving to particular artists a subject they perhaps not normally deal with, as many of the participating artists are abstract painters.
The subject is vast and the nude is a fundamental subject for Western Art, or the art of any culture. The nude, along with the sublime landscape or the dramatic portrait, is one of the few truly universal subjects. In Coombs’ words, ‘the distinction between the naked and the nude is like the difference between the represented and the real. The nude body I take as the naked body in a state of representation. Either through being posed or painted, the nude is never fully naked ‐ the body has something projected on to it, it is made to stand for something. Through gesture, through deportment, through atmosphere, the nude is made to embody an idea, a feeling, a philosophy, a way of being’.
White, Laura (Artist); Allen, Phillip (Curator of an exhibition) and Coombs, Dan (Curator of an exhibition)