Jan Wurm graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles, and received a Master's degree from the Royal College of Art in London. Wurm's work has been exhibited in many galleries, including the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, the Mandeville Art Gallery of the University of California, San Diego, the Newport Harbor Art Museum Art Rental Gallery, and Southern Exposure Gallery, San Francisco. She has taught for the University of California Extension, and the Art Studio of the Associated Students of the University of California (ASUC). Wurm divides her time between Berkeley, California, and Los Angeles.
No Naked Nudes
Two divergent trends have led to these musings. The first is a public dictum to eradicate the nude from art. It is neither an open public debate nor the topic of art forums. Yet it exists as a curatorial directive whispered between institution and artist. The experience that public funding can be withdrawn from an individual artist or an art institution presenting work of a nature not approved by a general public has created a self-censoring climate. This censorship has become thoroughly internalized. Several years ago it seemed particularly ironic to me when, having been told, quite matter-of-factly, by the curator of the San Francisco Art Commission Art in City Hall exhibition program, that I should not include any nudes in my exhibition, I walked around the building to find an exhibition of photography. The photographer had accompanied the police to crime scenes. There, laid before the viewer, were images of women who had been abused, raped, and murdered. These horrific scenes, presented without the consent of the subjects, were fine to grace the walls of City Hall. The notion of a carefree line drawing of a playful, cartoon-y nude frolicking under a palm tree was forbidden. The brutalization of a woman could be shown, the personal freedom of nudity could not. The quietly intoned: "Of course, no nudes" came to mind again as I recently entered one of the galleries at the California Palace of the Legion of Honor. The sign warned of the nature of the artwork. The art museum, home to centuries of painting, drawing, and sculpture rendering the nude, required a warning worthy of the surgeon general.
In contrast to this public disavowal of the propriety of the nude in art there emerged a new trend: the phenomenal popularity of life drawing. The die-hard groups meeting weekly for decades on the campuses of the University of California Berkeley and the San Francisco Art Institute were now surrounded by mushrooming groups in every corner studio. Artists of the most abstract, rigorously non-mimetic conviction confessed to years of secret life drawing. The doctor, lawyer, tinker, and tailor now gather round the model stand. The naturalist who keeps his binoculars trained on birds writes gushingly about the experience of drawing from the model. There appears a semblance of sport, an impulse to entertain.
From the perspective of an artist committed to the figure and the humanistic social content of art, this engagement has held a visual search for form and expression in the nude. Hopefully these drawings add to a tradition in a meaningful way. The opportunity to publish these drawings is certainly one to be seized; the opportunity to exhibit them may not present itself within the current climate. These drawings were made within a studio tradition of a drawing practice; yet, I have hoped, with each turn of the page, to discover something new and wondrous beyond.
Learn more about Jan Wurm by clicking on the linked image in the side bar.
Well we are finally back at it here at TIMEFORFRIDA, after a couple of months of limited posts. Spring arrived and my time and energy moved to outside activities. I also inadvertently dumped a file with a number of submissions that I had planned to post. I apologize to those artists who have been looking for their work. Please feel free to re-submit.
In any case, I am pleased to introduce an exciting young artist , Mr. Sean O'Neill. Sean is a recent graduate of the University of Delaware's Fine Art program. He also does some interesting sculpture and I especially like his photography. Check out his web site by clicking on the image in the side bar. Enjoy!!
When creating a painting, I use a combination of minimal, expressive, and realistic techniques to craft pieces that create excitement, while simultaneously tell a story. Some topics I grace are comical, while others are more serious and dark. Through the use of scale and shape, I can use minimal rendering to produce a high contrast between dark and light, thus making a photo-realistic painting, only painting in the darkest areas. I try to bring in this style, with a painterly style of both realistic (portraits) and expressionistic (landscapes). All elements come together to form a new world, a world that explores what is real and what is just finished with your eye and the viewers’ imagination. In every painting I try to create a sense of fantastical encounters and unhinged events by using imaginary situations and realistic characters. I investigate a new style of painting often. I maintain curiosities involving my own capabilities with paint, this mindset provides each one of my paintings with a distinctive style, that is at sometimes graphic and painterly. Inevitably I hope to unify these two elements of my painting style. I started my graphic painting style with using just black and white. Using high contrast in these paintings progressed to incorporating such contrast with my instinctive painterly style. When I am painting, I have to become two painters; one who wants flat, highly contrasted black and white imagery, and the other who is interested in bright colorful images that can be made with the brush strokes. Each one is painted differently, the black and white is a very slow process of great detail and precision, and the more painterly technique is faster and more about movement and mark, than precision. I also attempt investigate the gloriousness of life and how everything around us is artistically crafted and seamlessly engaging in every way to everyone and the world around us. I paint because I enjoy it, because if I didn’t paint I would not be able to fully engage the world around me and be able to create a sense of understanding for the relationships that all living and non-living things have with another. My art reflects my feelings about everything I hold inside myself until I paint it, whether it is to laugh a little more, or to cry a little more, it doesn’t really matter because I am just trying to evoke great feeling. I work to enhance the world one still, visual moment at a time. In each painting, whether I plan it out or just paint with no plan in mind, comes to life, and grasps the viewers’ attention. I hope to achieve this intensely and for as long as possible. I make my decisions as an artist based on my own experiences and feelings, rather than previously used techniques derived from any one artist. I find inspiration not from the work created by other artists, but from the subjects I choose to paint, and how I would like to see them
Send us a few samples of your work and you might be our next "Guest Artist". We had several artists lined up and somehow lost the files. If you sent us work you may have been among those lost, please feel free to re-send.