Wednesday, August 8, 2012

the Contemporary Male Nude in Art

I think I came in too fast with the idea for this blog. I wanted to promote awareness for the male nude but I didn’t have a strong plan to do so. Though I see/discover more contemporary artists who acknowledge drawing as a Serious Art on its own, the male nude doesn’t move away from the pinup/porn visual department. The Cock is mostly viewed as the male sex organ, porn symbol, PG rated. The Ancients regarded it with different eyes and I was trying to bring that idea forth. I confess, my own drawings were not sufficiently creative in this respect.

The male nude pose that I mostly encounter in contemporary visuals is the superhero pose or the city-office metrosexual, skinny, frustrated. I’ll continue to watch this.
The rest, as I said, is “here I am, hunky, beefy and here’d my dick!”.  My sense of Art refuses to be uplifted by such representations of the male nudity.

And then came Lucian Freud, which is an Artist I still have to digest, as he brought to the table a view which is larger than what I can take in such a short time. The immediate “diagnostic” is that his Art manages to void me of anything I already have in myself, transport me to his world and therefore fills me with new sensations and emotional “understanding”. And this is what I want Art to do for me.

As the Alchemists used to say, a Painting must look at you, to make you look at her.

Drawing: slowly making a come back. Hopefully!

These days drawing still suffers from the anti-tradition sentiment that has been with us for a few decades. Many art schools are only now getting back to teaching the subject... ...Another problem is that many collectors still don't see stand-alone drawing as a collectible. It's unfortunate, because drawing has its own unique delight for both the doer and the viewer. Let's face it, drawing skills have largely fallen on hard times. A few years ago it was nearly a dead art. Lots of folks still think they don't need it. 

While painting can often be brought back and upgraded by a strong shot of desire, it's been my experience that drawing, not practiced, soon becomes rusty. Ordinary drawing is okay and useful, but above all it's an opportunity for "line style." Expressive, searching, definitive, linear, broken, lost and found, there's an energy in line that tone and form do not have. In drawing, artists have to determine whether the objects or ideas drawn are suitable for line--or would they be best suited for mass and area. For subjects with what I call "inner glow," such as faces and the nuances of nature, line can take second place. Think of trying to stretch a coat hanger around a cloud. But line is of value for its own sake and can carry its own meaning. Paul Klee noted that "a line is a dot that went for a walk." More creators and more collectors need to be taken on that walk. Edgar Degas noted, "Drawing is a species of writing: it reveals, better than does painting, an artist's true personality." A student who sees progress in drawing gains the greatest self-esteem. For that reason alone artists ought to be drawing like crazy. When Michelangelo died, a note for one of his assistants was found on the studio floor: "Draw, Antonio, draw. Draw and do not waste time.