Torso 2 (2004), oil on canvas, Saatchi Gallery
7 May 1970|
|Movement||Young British Artists|
Jenny Saville RA (born 7 May 1970) is a contemporary British painter associated with the Young British Artists. She is known for her large-scale painted depictions of nude women. Saville works and lives in Oxford, England.
Early life and education
Saville was born on 7 May 1970 in Cambridge, England. Saville went to the Lilley and Stone School (now The Grove School Specialist Science College) in Newark, Nottinghamshire, for her secondary education, later gaining her degree at Glasgow School of Art (1988–1992), and was then awarded a six-month scholarship to the University of Cincinnati where she states that she saw "Lots of big women. Big white flesh in shorts and T-shirts. It was good to see because they had the physicality that I was interested in" - a physicality that she partially credits to Pablo Picasso, an artist that she sees as a painter that made subjects as if "they were solidly there...not fleeting.".
At the end of Saville's postgraduate education, the leading British art collector, Charles Saatchi, purchased her senior show. He offered the artist an 18-month contract, supporting her while she created new works to be exhibited in the Saatchi Gallery in London. The collection, Young British Artists III, exhibited in 1994 with Saville's self-portrait, Plan, as the signature piece. Rising quickly to critical and public recognition in part through Saatchi's patronage, Saville has been noted for creating art through the use of a classical standard—figure painting. Although Saville's chosen method is traditional, she has found a way to reinvent figure painting and regain its position in the context of art history. Known primarily for her large-scale paintings of nude women, Saville has also emerged as a Young British Artist (YBA). Much of her work features distorted flesh, high-caliber brush strokes and patches of oil color, while others reveal the surgeon's mark of a plastic surgery operation. In 1994, Saville spent many hours observing plastic surgery operations in New York City.
Saville has dedicated her career to traditional figurative oil painting. Her painterly style has been compared to that of Lucian Freud and Rubens. Her paintings are usually much larger than life size. They are strongly pigmented and give a highly sensual impression of the surface of the skin as well as the mass of the body. She sometimes adds marks onto the body, such as white "target" rings.
Since her debut in 1992, Saville's focus has remained on the female body, slightly deviating into subjects with "floating or indeterminate gender," painting large scale paintings of transgender people. Her published sketches and documents include surgical photographs of liposuction, trauma victims, deformity correction, disease states and transgender patients.
Saville's work will be exhibited at the 2018 Edinburgh Art Festival at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art exhibit NOW.
Stare (2005) was used for the cover of the Manics' 2009 album Journal for Plague Lovers. The top four UK supermarkets stocked the CD in a plain slipcase, after the cover was deemed "inappropriate". The band's James Dean Bradfield said the decision was "utterly bizarre", and commented:
You can have lovely shiny buttocks and guns everywhere in the supermarket on covers of magazines and CDs, but you show a piece of art and people just freak out.
- Branded (1992). Oil painting on a 7 ft × 6 ft (2.1 m × 1.8 m) canvas. In this painting, Saville painted her own face onto an obese female body. The size of the breasts and midsection is very exaggerated. The figure in the painting is holding folds of her skin which she is seemingly showing off.
- Plan (1993). Oil painting on a 9 ft × 7 ft (2.7 m × 2.1 m) canvas. This painting depicts a nude female figure with contour lines marked on her body, much like that of a topographical map. Saville said of this work: "The lines on her body are the marks they make before you have liposuction done to you. They draw these things that look like targets. I like this idea of mapping of the body, not necessarily areas to be cut away, but like geographical contours on a map. I didn't draw on to the body. I wanted the idea of cutting into the paint. Like you would cut into the body. It evokes the idea of surgery. It has lots of connotations."
- Fulcrum (1999). Oil painting on an 8 1⁄2 ft × 16 ft (2.6 m × 4.9 m) canvas. In this painting, three obese women are piled on a medical trolley. Thin vertical strips of tape have been painted over and then pulled off the canvas, thus creating a sense of geometric measure at odds with the mountainous flesh.
- Hem (1999). Oil painting on a 10 ft × 7 ft (3.0 m × 2.1 m) canvas. This painting depicts a very large nude female with lots of subtle textures implied. The bits of orange showing through the stomach add a glow, while the figure's left side is covered with thick white paint as if by a plaster cast, and her pubic area, painted pink over dark brown, resembles carved painted wood.
- Hybrid (1997). Oil painting on a 7 ft × 6 ft (2.1 m × 1.8 m) canvas. In this painting, the image looks much like patchwork. Different components of four female bodies are incorporated together to create a unique piece.
- Ruben's Flap (1998–1999). Oil painting on a 10 ft × 8 ft (3.0 m × 2.4 m) canvas. This painting depicts Saville herself; she multiplies her body, letting it fill the canvas space as it does in other works, but what is interesting is the fragmentation. Decisive lines divide the body into square planes, and it appears that she is trying to hide the nakedness with the different planes. Saville seems to be struggling to convince herself that the parts of her body are beautiful.
- Matrix (1999). Oil painting on a 7 ft × 10 ft (2.1 m × 3.0 m) canvas. In this painting, Saville depicts a reclining nude figure with female breasts and genitalia, but with a masculine, bearded face. The genitalia are thrust to the foreground, making them much more of a focus in the picture than the gaze. The arms and legs of the figure are only partly seen, the extremities lying outside the boundary of the picture. The whole is painted in fairly naturalistic fleshy tones.
- Saville also created a series of photographs known as Closed Contact (1995–1996). She collaborated with artist Glen Luchford to create a series of C-prints depicting a larger female nude lying on plexiglas. The photos were taken from underneath the glass and depict the female figure very distorted.
- Cooling Gallery, London, 1993, when Saatchi bought all her works.
- The controversial 'Sensation' exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art (1997) brought Saville's work to the attention of the British public at large.
- 1996 Jenny Saville/Glen Luchford: A Collaboration, Pace McGill Gallery, New York
- In 1999 Territories, Gagosian Gallery, New York (SoHo)
- In 2002, she collaborated with photographer Glen Luchford to produce huge Polaroids of herself taken from below, lying on a sheet of glass.
- In 2002, Jenny Saville/Glen Luchford: Closed Contact, Gagosian Gallery, Beverly Hills.
- In 2003, Migrants, Gagosian Gallery, New York (Chelsea).
- In 2004, Large Scale Polaroids by Jenny Saville and Glen LuchfordUniversity of Massachusetts Amherst, East Gallery.
- In 2005, Solo Exhibition, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma, Rome.
- "Continuum", 15 September - 22 October 2011 - Gagosian Gallery, New York City
- Norton's RAW series – Recognition of Art by Women 15 November 2011 – 4 March 2012 Norton Museum of Art, West Palm Beach Florida
- Jenny Saville's first UK solo exhibition was held at Modern Art Oxford 23 June – 16 September 2012.
- 'Jenny Saville Drawing' forms the final section of the 'Titian to Canaletto: Drawing in Venice' exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum, 15 October 2015 – 10 January 2016. Twenty new works on paper and canvas were produced in response to the Venetian drawings in the exhibition.
- "Erota," April 14 - July 9, 2016 at Gagosian Gallery, London, UK. This exhibition held recent drawings inspired by the previous "Titian to Canaletto: Drawing in Venice" exhibition. 
Notes and references
- Royal Academy of Arts: Jenny Saville RA | Artist | Royal Academy of Arts, accessdate: 29/08/2014
- "Jenny Saville". Gagosian Gallery. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
- "Jenny Saville Biography Archived 13 March 2008 at the Wayback Machine.". Artbank.com. Retrieved on 5 February 2008.
- "SAVILLE, Jenny." Benezit Dictionary of Artists. Oxford Art Online. Oxford University Press. Web. 24 Sep. 2015. <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/benezit/B00300069>.
- "Jenny Saville Biography, Works of Art, Auction Results - Invaluable". Invaluable.com.
- Cooke, Rachel (9 June 2012). "Jenny Saville: 'I want to be a painter of modern life, and modern bodies'". The Guardian. London.
- Schama, Simon. "Jenny Saville". The Saatchi Gallery, 2005. Retrieved on 6 February 2008.
- Sawa, Dale Berning (2018-03-25). "Tacita Dean and Jenny Saville lead strong female presence at Edinburgh art festival". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-03-30.
- Middles, Mick. "Manic Street Preachers". London: Omnibus Press, January 2000. p.136. ISBN 0-7119-7738-0
- Rogers, Georgie & O'Doherty, Lucy. "Supermarkets cover up Manics CD ". BBC News, 2009. Retrieved on 28 June 2009.
- Rogers, Georgie; O'Doherty, Lucy (14 May 2009). "BBC News | Entertainment | Supermarkets Cover Up Manics CD". BBC News. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- "Best Art Vinyl 2009 Winners". Art Vinyl. Archived from the original on 6 January 2010. Retrieved 1 November 2010.
- "Jenny Saville - Feminism and Self-Portraiture". Art1eproject.wetpaint.com. Archived from the original on 7 April 2013. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
- "Gallery of the Work of Jenny Saville". Employees.oneonta.edu. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
- Smith, Roberta (15 October 1999). "ART IN REVIEW; Jenny Saville". The New York Times.
- "Jenny Saville". ArtForum. 1999. Archived from the original on 26 October 2008.
- "Jenny Saville: Destroyer of False Fetishes (Fine Art Year One. January 2009.) « theshutteredroom". Theshutteredroom.wordpress.com. 8 July 2011. Retrieved 17 February 2013.
- "Evening Standard Website". Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Modern Art Oxford website shop exhibition poster Jenny Saville 2012". Retrieved 21 October 2015.[permanent dead link]
- "Ashmolean Museum exhibition Titian to Canaletto Jenny Saville Drawing". Ashmolean website. Retrieved 21 October 2015.
- "Jenny Saville - April 14 - July 9, 2016 - Gagosian". Gagosian. Retrieved 5 October 2016.