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Jenny Saville

Continuum

September 15–October 22, 2011
980 Madison Avenue, New York

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view  Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation video

Installation video

Works Exhibited

Jenny Saville, Red Stare Head IV, 2006–11 Oil on canvas, 99 ¼ × 73 ⅞ inches (252 × 187.5 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Jenny Saville, Red Stare Head IV, 2006–11

Oil on canvas, 99 ¼ × 73 ⅞ inches (252 × 187.5 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

About

[Flesh] is all things. Ugly, beautiful, repulsive, compelling, anxious, neurotic, dead, alive.
—Jenny Saville

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.

From the Quarterly