The most famous hands in art might be those in ’s
iconic fresco painting of God
; their elegantly rendered
fingers extended toward each other on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Representations of the human
and all its individual parts make up some of the very oldest artworks, going
all the way back to
cave paintings. The human form as a subject has fascinated modern
and contemporary artists, too, from
, while performance artists like
have used the powerful expressive potential of their own bodies
to explore issues of gender, race, and human relationships.
At Richard J. Demato Fine
, several artists hone in
on elements of the human body, exploiting gesture, movement, and posture as
forms of communication. In ’s
series of paintings, “World of Duos”, the artist depicts the
torsos of nude or seminude bodies, seated and facing the viewer directly.
Xiaobo explores interpersonal relationships by framing pairs of anonymous individuals—who
appear to be couples or partners—in balanced compositions. In World of Duos,
, a man and woman, both nude on top except for leather jackets, seem
to be exact counterparts of each other; the man holds one hand over his heart,
while his partner raises an arm so that together, their limbs form a fluid
line. Similarly in World of Duos, no. 3
, two muscular men hold hands in
a display of unity; nude from the waist up, they appear at once intimate,
vulnerable, poised, and secure.
similarly crops his subject in The Crux II
so that only a
torso is visible. In a gesture of supplication, this pale, gaunt male figure
swathed in a white robe holds his arms out, forming a perch for eight bright
red tropical birds.
zooms in on the human form further in his closely cropped
paintings of hands; in Burdens #3
, for example, a meticulously rendered
hand appears to support a metal beam, the strain of its weight visible in the
subject’s bent wrist and flexed tendons. These paintings showcase the human
body as an endlessly fascinating subject, able to express nuanced psychological
states and relationships.