At thirty-two, Jenny Saville has had a career most artists twice her age would envy. In 1992, the year she completed her studies at Glasgow School of Art, her graduation exhibition sold out. Most notably, one painting was bought by Charles Saatchi and, since then, her international reputation has grown at a rapid and steady pace.Jenny Saville is described as a "New Old Master" for the technical proficiency of her oversize nudes that have earned her comparisons to Rubens and Lucian Freud and universal praise from critics and art historians alike. For the conceptual underpinnings of her work, she has been hailed as one of the most interesting artists of the last decade. Her work has been shown alongside that of Damien Hirst and the other Young British Artists in the acclaimed and seminal survey of new British art Sensation at the Royal Academy (London, 1997) and the Brooklyn Museum of Art (New York, 2000).This is the only monograph devoted to the critically acclaimed young artist and features all of Jenny Saville's paintings to date-including many previously unpublished. This volume is being published in association with the Gagosian Gallery in London. The power of her brilliant and relentless embodiment of our worst anxieties about our own corporeality and gender is what distinguishes Saville from other paint-obsessed representers of the naked human body. To my eye, no other artist in recent memory has combined empathy and distance with such visual and emotional impact. -Linda Nochlin, Art in America, March 2000
About the Author
Simon Schama is the art critic for the New Yorker as well as a world-renowned scholar. Schama has taught at Cambridge, Oxford, and Harvard and is now Professor of History at Columbia University where specializes in European cultural and environmental history and art history. Between 1999 and 2002 he wrote, presented, and filmed the fifteen-part A History of Britain for BBC Television. He is currently at work on a book about the Anglo-American relationship and an eight part television series for the BBC, The Power of Art.
a few of these pictures look like they should be in a forensic pathology file. the photographs of the babies who died from meningococcal meningitis were particularly unnecessary i thought . Fair enough the plastic surgery gone wrong. But dead babies? its just gone too far.
It can convincingly be stated that a number of the Saatchi young British artists (YBA) do not really inhabit a solid space within contemporary art. Most often divorced, technically or aesthetically and locked into an intellectual relationship with their audience. This is a bit of a failing given that the primary material of an artist is aesthetics (or anti aesthetics). Without denying the scope of modern art practice it can still be said that many artists are locked into a relationship of diminishing returns, think mark Kostabi, Jeff Koons and even Damian Hirst. They rely on the tabloid machine, the art magazines or publicists to extol their merits.
Jenny Saville on the other hand deserves the attentions that are being lauded upon her work, she is an extraordinary tactile painter and her work has real presence in scale, tactility and subject.
The production of this book and the stunning photography does justice to the tactility of her painting and also offers an insight into her working methodology via the studio shots, the odd sketch and the interviews. Less clearly implied are the influences of Bacon, Ballard and Burroughs (her interest with disease and the broken aspect of the human psyche manifested in the body is the connecting tissue). The interviews are for the most part concise and ought to be of interest to students, critics and the casual reader.
This book is one that every serious artist painter ought to place in their studio as a constant source of inspiration and also as a reference in regard to the new figurative works that are even now fading in and out of fashion.
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