Those who follow in the footsteps of the Old Masters would gasp at Seth Alverson’s raw depictions of the human body. From the Renaissance’s advancements in rendering the idealized anatomy to today’s Photoshopped magazine covers, Western culture has an ongoing obsession with depicting the nude figure in ways that few of us can actually live up to. Alverson throws these conventions out the window with his oil paintings.
Working in the tradition of Italian Renaissance masters, the Milan-based artist Giuseppe Ciracì creates careful renderings of human anatomy, using pencil, oil and acrylic. Many of his pieces have an unfinished feel; often the faces of his human subjects appear half rendered in a detailed chiaroscuro, while the other half is left in white silhouette, as though the artist got distracted halfway through or were merely creating preparatory sketches.
Pablo Picasso once said, “There is no abstract art. You must always start with something. Afterward you can remove all traces of reality.” And while art has evolved dramatically, the classic fundamental of anatomy remains the same. Czech sculptor Monika Horčicová creates ornate installations with polyester resin skeletons as her medium. Some might call her work morbid, others a beautiful reimagining and application of the human form. Her technique requires a keen understanding of anatomy before she can manipulate it- and her work is not just an abstraction. She’s walking a line between natural construction and purely artistic expression. Take a look after the jump!
Japanese sculptor Masao Kinoshita is prolific in a variety of media — wood, clay, plaster, bronze, stone. His works take an interest in the extreme physical feats of the human anatomy and add to these feats with fantastical details culled from folklore, mythology and religion. A prominent series in Konishita’s body of work is his muscle sculpture series, which exposes what lies beneath a creature’s skin. Much like the “Bodies” exhibit that toured across American museums, the sculpture series displays the intricacies of our flesh.
Without all of the clothes and the accessories of the modern Homo sapiens, human anatomy alone is quite strange and our smug arrogance, rather misplaced. Visualize a baby kitten next to a human infant, and you’ll see how oafish we must appear to surrounding species. New York-based artist Aurel Schmidt goes a step further to highlight our physical oddities by comparing human body parts to not even others mammals, but vegetation, in her collections of drawings titled “Fruits” and “Black Drawings.”
Illustrator Kate Lacour describes her work with three words: “body horror beauty.” More silly than terrifying, her “Bodies” series of drawings remixes factual textbook-style anatomy diagrams, transforming the make-up of the human body into kaleidoscopic arrangements of limbs and organs. Lacour achieves visually pleasing symmetrical compositions through strange juxtapositions of parts. In one piece, the musculature of two faces intertwines like an infinity symbol, nestled inside a female pelvis that has been opened up for view. In others, she incorporates Buddhist imagery (the lotus position, open-palmed hand gestures) — perhaps to show that these bodies shouldn’t inspire fear but rather expose a new perspective on the structures we take for granted.