December 3, 2013
Focus on the Figure survey show- December 2-9, 2013

MATTHEWS GALLERY EXAMINES HISTORY OF THE FIGURE

Survey show features figurative art by Renoir and more

Santa Fe, NM- December 2013—Matthews Gallery will examine an intriguing slice of art history in FOCUS ON THE FIGURE, a survey show of figurative art running December 2-9.

Humanity’s first impulse to create art in its own image arose in prehistory, and figurative art has persisted in every culture since. The timeline for FOCUS ON THE FIGURE picks up long after the appearance of cave paintings and Venus figurines, but its roots stretch back to the beginning.

“Our exhibition is an exciting survey starting with modernism and extending to the present,” says owner Lawrence Matthews. “However, all great art points forward and back, evoking our most primal instincts and our highest ideals.”

Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s 1904 etching Odalisque, a centerpiece of the show, is a depiction of a Turkish concubine but may refer to Roman mythology.

When the artist submitted a painting of a nude called Diana to the Paris Salon in 1867, the work was rejected. Three years later Renoir used the same model for a painting called Odalisque that showed a fully clothed figure. The second work, stripped of its mythological significance and given an exotic twist, was accepted to the Salon. The etching in the exhibition features a lounging nude under the same title. Here Renoir refuses to hold back, depicting the female form so tenderly that her skin holds an inner glow.

Also featured is a series of paintings by Harold Frank (1917-1995), who took cues from abstract expressionism.

The New York artist’s take on the female figure features quick, expressive brushwork that was no doubt inspired by Willem de Kooning. Both artists incorporated drips and splatters of paint into their compositions to create spacial ambiguities in the picture plane.

Contemporary Santa Fe artist Jamie Chase’s figurative paintings recall the work of Nathan Oliveira, but he’s equally drawn to Ancient Egyptian art and European cave paintings.

Chase grew up in San Francisco and attended art school there for a short time before dropping out to tour Europe. Upon his return to San Francisco he got a job painting mural for a bookstore, where he learned about the art of ancient cultures.

Contemporary sculptor Robert W. Hinds is also inspired by ancient cultures and their myths, depicting mermaids, minotaurs and other fantastical creatures.

Come trace the history of the human figure in art at FOCUS ON THE FIGURE this December. For more information, visit www.thematthewsgallery.com.

Read about the show on the Matthews Gallery blog, and learn more on our exhibit page.

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Download:   Focus on the Figure

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