Jenny Saville, ‘One out of two (symposium)’, 2016, Gagosian

Image rights: © Jenny Saville. Courtesy the artist and Gagosian Gallery. Photo: Mike Bruce

About Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville paints female nudes in extreme states of grotesque exaggeration—deformed, obese, brutalized, or mutilated—working against the male-dominated history of idealized portraits of women. “I want to be a painter of modern life, and modern bodies,” she says. The morbidity of Saville’s human subjects, often bleeding or violently gripping their own flesh, bears a stark resemblance to her portraits of butchered animals, both grotesque and objectified. Working in a style with various links to Lucien Freud and Peter Paul Rubens, Saville takes many of her themes and subjects from a critical observation of everyday people—American women in shopping malls, patients being prepped for liposuction, and even her childhood piano teacher. “I was fascinated by the way her two breasts would become one,” she says of the latter, “the way her fat moved, the way it hung on the back of her arms.”

British, b. 1970, Cambridge, United Kingdom, based in Oxford, United Kingdom