[Flesh] is all things. Ugly, beautiful, repulsive, compelling, anxious, neurotic, dead, alive.
Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings and drawings by Jenny Saville, her first in New York since Migrants in 2003.
Fascinated by the endless aesthetic and formal possibilities that the materiality of the human body offers, Saville remits a highly sensuous and tactile impression of surface and mass in her monumental oil paintings. In the compelling Stare paintings she renders the contours and features of the face and the nuances of skin texture and color in strokes both bold and meticulous. Enlarging the facial features of her human subjects to a vast scale and portraying them in layer upon layer of paint, she imbues them with a sense of mass and weight that is almost sculptural and at times wholly abstract. Intense pinks, reds, and blues erupt through pale skin tones, disclosing the internal workings of the painting like the flesh and blood of a living organism.
Saville depicts the intimate relationship between mother and child in a series of life-size drawings directly inspired by Renaissance nativity portraits—in particular Leonardo da Vinci’s cartoon The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and John the Baptist, an atypical scene in which the Virgin contends with a lively Christ-child. In Study for Pentimenti IV (After Michelangelo’s Virgin and Child) (2011) and Componimento inculto (2011), the subjects—a pregnant woman and a young child—are recorded in symbiotic flux. Multiple impressions of each figure are drawn, erased, and superimposed again to create studies in simultaneity; the relationship between the subjects is expressed in a series of dynamic poses rather than in static compositions of iconographic order. Through these intricate studies, Saville gives powerful graphic life to the anatomical details and expressive movements that animate and underpin her visceral paintings.
Jenny Saville: Painting the Self
Jenny Saville speaks with Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, about her latest self-portrait, her studio practice, and the historical painters to whom she continually returns.
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2020
The Winter 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Jenny Saville’s Prism (2020) on its cover.
Five Preoccupations: Jenny Saville
Jenny Saville shares a selection of the books, films, and more that have been her companions in the quiet of the shutdowns in recent months and as she looks ahead to a new exhibition next year.
Jenny Saville and Nicholas Cullinan
Jenny Saville speaks with Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, from her studio. They discuss portraiture, her latest work, and her art historical influences, as well as the shifting nature of perception in the age of digital communication.
Sally Mann and Jenny Saville
The two artists discuss being drawn to difficult subjects, the effects of motherhood on their practice, embracing chance, and their shared adoration of Cy Twombly.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
July 22–28, 2020
In her depictions of the human form, Jenny Saville transcends the boundaries of both classical figuration and modern abstraction. Oil paint, applied in heavy layers, becomes as visceral as flesh itself, each painted mark maintaining a supple, mobile life of its own. As Saville pushes, smears, and scrapes the pigment over her large-scale canvases, the distinctions between living, breathing bodies and their painted representations begin to collapse.
Photo: courtesy the artist
Extended through July 23, 2018
May 3–July 23, 2018
West 21st Street, New York