Monday, December 15, 2008

John Currin

The Veil

John Currin is an artist well-known for his painting dealing with provocative sexual and social themes.

"John Currin’s paintings emphasize a postmodern approach to the culturally relative nature of beauty and gender. His paintings of large-breasted women are somewhat antagonistic and sarcastic. At first glance, he seems to be offering male viewers what they want, yet at the same time, his exaggerated women parody contemporary Western culture, where women are encouraged to develop impossible standards of beauty."

(writes David Morris)

The Wizard

"...if it was Manet who demonstrated the nakedness of the nude, it is Currin who exhibits its psychopathology, the weirdness of doing in art what you can't always do in reality. No painting points up the discrepancy better than The Wizard (1994), in which a man wearing dark gloves lays his hands on a woman's ample breasts. Both figures close their eyes, as though to acknowledge something already dreamlike about the encounter. Why, though, is this man a wizard? Did he use magic to mesmerize the woman? To strip her naked? To enlarge her breasts? Even if he did, what does he gain? As a visualist, Currin was no doubt concerned with the contrast the black gloves formed against the white breasts, and yet these hand-coverings condemn the wizard to touch without feeling. The wizard is both more and less than a man: more, because he's able to bring his fantasy to life; less, because without sight and touch he's weirdly incapable of enjoying it. And in that sense, the painting could serve as an allegory of the nude as such, since the same holds true of the artist: in the nude, he can realize but not enjoy any fantasy."

(writes Supervert)


Anonymous said...

Why do you assume the wizard is the man?

Cygnus & Andromeda said...

Good point! :)