written by Eddie Arroyo
It was 1999 when Charles Saatchi presented the Sensations show at the Brooklyn Museum. If there was a group show to encompass a decade it would be that show and the artists it had launched. Among those artists was Jenny Saville with here larger than life naked paintings and portraits of women. The Norton Museum of Art in West Palm Beach is featuring her work – a collection of paintings and drawings spanning two decades. This is Saville’s first solo exhibition in an american Museum.
I was struck by the sheer presence of them and surprised by its landscape sensibility. The work seems to be carved out of the canvas. Many artist and collectors know for a fact that photo reproductions of paintings are a poor substitute for the actual work but it is overwhelmingly apparent in this show. The colors and paint application compliment the feminist content of objectification and perceptions of beauty. These concepts were addressed further when Saville was there in a conversational forum where she explained her ideas concerning the work. She spoke about her passion for flesh and its importance in her paintings and the research required which included working for a cosmetic surgeon for a time.
The Norton Museum of Art continues to be a beacon for contemporary art in South Florida and a highly recommended exhibition.