The debasement of Eve

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A couple of weeks ago I blogged about the late Beryl Cook and how much I love her art.

Another British artist – Jenny Saville, I think to be amazingly gifted though I wouldn’t necessarily want her art hanging in my home. Not that it would ever fit – her canvases are huge – that’s part of her signature style.

The motif for which she is most well known is her depiction of the female form at its most gargantuan and grotesque. She is likened to Lucien Freud for her traditional, painterly style and she is also a key figure of the YBO (Young British Artists) movement, as were, back in the 1990s. She continues to be one of the most high profile artists we have.

Her work assaults the senses. I can just imagine walking into a huge gallery hall and seeing these pictures (several meters high) and feeling quite gob smacked. I haven’t seen her work, but would like to. I despise her depiction of women, like corpulent pig flesh, and yet she has the power to captivate and hold the attention that can’t be overstated; the image stays on in your mind.

I also like that she eschews the ‘cleverness’ of so much (modern) art. Like the Tracy Emins and Damien Hirsts. They have interesting ideas but her innate ability to paint hugely powerful art – trumps the new-fangled stuff for me.

Some of her most well known work is below. They all shock, and these are less shocking than some of her others.





“Torso 2”


Scale of her pictures (that is not her in the picture).

An interview she gave in The Guardian.

Unofficial homepage.

8 thoughts on “The debasement of Eve

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  1. I think she’s incredibly talented. But, as with Mr Jolly himself, Lucien Freud, I don’t like her dark view of humanity: I wouldn’t want to spend five minutes in her world and I wouldn’t want her work on my wall, even if it would fit. And yet, you’re right, it’s stunning, and far more interesting than the pretentiousnous of Tracey Emin, for example. I’ll shut up now before I end up in Pseud’s Corner.

  2. BN is an artist.. did you know? I am familiar with Jenny Saville because of him and I’ve seen these before…. not art I would hang in my home … maybe not because of the size!!!! But good nevertheless!! 🙂

    I looked all over NY for a book of her paintings but couldn’t find it – it’s called Territories – which I think is part of an exhibition she did – couldn’t find it in the UK (Tate Modern etc.) it seems to be really hard to get hold of. I think she’s better than Lucien Freud although I really like him too… not that I think he’s bad – but she’s better.
    Hers seem very immediate whereas Freud can seem quite studied – again not necessarily bad … Jenny mostly seems very alive and fluid and not overworked which can be disappointing to look at… LF is however a very good artist….

    It’s all gone very arty over here!! 🙂

  3. Very fascinating art. Why do you despise it though? In all seriousness, don’t you think some people look like these paintings? Well, not Torso 2, but the others…

  4. Daphne – agreed, is a dark view indeed.

    NM – no, I didn’t know that! I don’t know much about art I ought to say at the outset. A little about photog but not art. Annoying for BN that he couldn’t find the book. You’d think in the internet age it would be easier to get hold of? I’m less familiar with LF’s work though didn’t much like his pick of Her Maj.

    SCM – yeh, is an acquired taste not many of us share!

    Hen – she sure is!

    SB – LOL! Loving your Wal Mart stories! 😛

    Enrico – hmm, I guess it’s a tribute to the artist that I despise her depiction of women. It seems sooo unsympathetic, so stark. These morbidly, gratuitously obese women look like monsters. Just look at the hands! It’s so unflinching. But more power to her for being able to instil that in viewers.

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