Alice Neel and Jenny Saville

Meat/FleshJenny Saville is an English painter (born 1970) and member of Young British Artists (YBA), a group of conceptual artists such as Damien Hirst known for their shock tactics. American artist Alice Neel (1900-1984) is known for painting the everyday people in her life.Paintings of Women

Jenny Saville is best known for her monumental paintings of women; her paintings are much larger than life size and dwarf this tiny dynamo of an artist. Saville focuses on big women in her work. She has stated that she prefers this subject matter because she likes the fact that big women are solidly there, not fleeting. Not only does she focus on the female body, but also on figures of indeterminate gender such as transsexuals. Saville also paints her observations of transsexual and plastic surgery operations. She sometimes fixates on the colors of bruising on the skin, or on reddened eyes, yellowed skin, stitches and breathing tubes.

The artists skill at skin tones is excellent and she masterfully plays up the use of color. Savilles use of large women and the expanse of skin allow her to explore flesh in great close-up detail. She uses large brushes to make bold gestures in her work. Her paintings display beautiful lighting from the placement of obvious streams of light.

In her painting Interfacing Saville focuses on a small portion of a face. It becomes obvious that she is not interested in making the female form idealized. Her painting Reverse depicts a reflection of a face rather unsettling in its shiny, sticky reds. In Plan she shows a woman with lines laid out across her body perhaps in preparation for cosmetic surgery. The painting shows a style that is both hyper-realistic and painterly. In Hem she shows that she is not afraid to study the grotesque up close.

Today her work is displayed at Gogasian Gallery in New York.

Paintings of People in her Life

Alice Neel was an American painter whose works were typically on a small and intimate scale.

She uses a beautiful black outline to enhance her subjects. Though her paintings may seem simply crafted, she is able to show much of her subjects expressions. Like Saville, she isnt interested in painting an ideal figure. Instead, she doesnt hesitate to paint all the distortions present in peoples features and looks.

In Last Sickness Neel focuses on the outlining and patterning in the subjects clothes. She makes intriguing use of shadows on the figure and her clothes. In Frank OHara she cleverly casts a strong shadow behind his head.

In John Perreault (1972) she expertly handles the depiction of hair on a male nude body.

Today this painting can be seen at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York.


Rene Trevino oil painting lecture presented at Towson University, Towson, Maryland, on April 12, 2010.Grove Dictionary of Art. Oxford University Press, 2009.

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