JoAnne Artman Gallery
Aug 7, 2020 7:39PM

The reclining figure is one of the most popular poses in art history. Rooted within western and eastern art historical practices, the reclined pose has been used to depict feasts and opulence, status and leisure, sexualized odalisques (concubines), and nude goddesses (a mortal woman would be too scandalous!). Today, the lounging figure continues to be a favored choice for portraiture, both continuing tradition and allowing for contemporary artistic concepts.

America Martin
Olympia for Manet, 2019
JoAnne Artman Gallery

In the work of America Martin’s adaptation of Manet’s Olympia, the two female figures appear solid, bold, and in command of the space that they occupy. The reclined figures are beautiful, but not because of their idealization. Martin instead opts to focus on details such as the figures’ hands and facial expressions as markers of individuality, emphasizing the features in bold strokes. In many ways, the focal point of the painting becomes the abstracted bouquet in the center of the composition- punctuating it’s surroundings with the contrasting round shapes and brighter colors. Differing from Manet’s original, there is little sexualization of nudity in Martin’s work, but rather a complete openness as to the natural state of the human body in space in balance with nature.

Greg Miller
Olympia, 2020
JoAnne Artman Gallery

Also appropriating Manet’s Olympia, Greg Miller combines his paintings with found elements to the surface of his canvases and panels.

“[For Manet’s Olympia] I was inspired by the impressionist movement. It was a confrontational piece because it portrayed the woman as being a prostitute. It has many meanings but I interpret it all as positive, and sexual independence for woman. I enjoy depicting woman as HEROES of our time.”

Infamous for shocking its audience, the painting not only shows Olympia’s fully lit nudity, but captures her confrontational gaze towards the viewers as she rests, challenging art historical and societal convention. Playful and satirical, Miller’s contemporary adaptation merges the classical with pop culture and mass media, all while bringing Old Masters into a new world.

Michael Callas
Bronzino, 2019
JoAnne Artman Gallery

Appropriating Bronzino’s Renaissance classic with invention and boldness, Callas maintains the original composition. Remaining true to his practice, Callas meticulously maps out color planes of saturated hues and gray tones, crafting dimensionality and dramatic light sources on his subjects.

Employing his stencil methodology to precisely sculpt the nudes within the scene, Callas’ spray painting juxtaposes monochrome with unexpected bursts of color. Woven through the fabric cushioning and Cupid’s wings and bow, punctuations of yellow, pink, green and blue transform the recognizable painting into an unexpected and accessible reincarnation. Shifting the tone of the allegorical narrative with a contemporary application of paint, an unabashed palette, and hard-edged blocking of shapes, Callas honors the integrity and craftsmanship of the original work while bringing Bronzino’s oeuvre into the 21st century.

Ellen Von Wiegand
Of Wild Weeds Ed. 2/6 (Unframed), 2019
JoAnne Artman Gallery

Ellen Von Wiegand’s body of work reverberates with a quest for self-assurance and serenity as she uses her own nude body within her stylized prints. In a new series of large scale, limited edition linocuts, her portraits feature a distinctive use of line to establish composition, as well as a tool to divide space and color into defined, physical boundaries.

Reclined, the curve’s of the body mimic the rolling hills of landscape behind her. The peaceful, resting pose depicts the figure with one hand cradling her head, suggesting a oneness of her body with nature.

Brooke Shaden
Reflection #2: Sown, 2019
JoAnne Artman Gallery

Communicating anguish, desperation, and searching, Brooke Shaden’s figure is reclined by means of collapse. Shaden describes the character’s pose as “both passive, letting go, pleading, looking upward.” Surrounded by large shards of glass symbolic of the subject’s shattered emotions, the glass fragments create a patterned effect across the landscape. Differing from the other instances of reclined figures in both execution and in tone, Shaden’s photograph raises questions: Here the mirror pieces reflect the sky. Is it possible to see ourselves reflected in the world around us?

Whew-time for us to take a lie down!

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JoAnne Artman Gallery