The next step

I have worked from the live nude periodically since the early 1970's. This blog starts in my second year of working almost exclusively from the figure.

In the fall of 2015 I reintroduced still lifes and an occasional cityscape into my painting repertoire. Rather than abandon this figure blog or start a new one I decided to just add them to the conservation.

All drawings and paintings posted on this blog were done entirely from the live model.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Male Gaze

I recently came across the term "male gaze". It was used in the context of describing mans motivation for depicting the female nude throughout history. At first I thought what a quaint and simple way of explaining a complex phenomenon. But if pressed I don't think I can come up with a better or more concise explanation. Heterosexual men like to look at naked women.

Reclining Nude, oil on linen, 8 5/8" X17 1/2",  2010

For most men, to deny there isn't at least some sexual undercurrent when viewing a nude woman would not be truthful. To do so would be to deny eight million years of human sexual evolution. But we have to separate these instinctual feelings from the process. When confronted with a female (or male) model in pose my brain quickly goes into work mode. Body parts become shapes and shadows. It's almost impossible to view the work any way but critically.

The role of the nude in art, both male and female, has changed throughout history. In todays digital world we are exposed in print and on line to a tidal wave of overtly sexual images. In my opinion most of it manipulates and denigrates us as human beings. I like to think an "innocent" nude drawn or painted from life elevates our humanity. In some small way it can act as a counterbalance and refuge to a shallow and course world.

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