Figure drawings by Nina Gomez Gordon available in charcoal, sumi-e inkwash, conte. Sizes are 18”x24”, 9”x12”, and 7”x7”.
Left: Artists Steve Lohman and Omar Rayyan view interior portion of the installation On the Line. Black and white photographs courtesy of David LaPointe.
The difference between “nude” and “naked” figures has been explored throughout the history of art. In modern art history, consider Matisse’s Joy of Life and Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso. Classical nudes traditionally have been portrayed as beautiful and heroic. As a modern artist, Matisse goes one step further, stripping the figures of individual identities, to the bare essentials of line and form. They are mere elements such as a field of color or a brushstroke. No one figure is most important; they all contribute to the mood and composition expressing Matisse’s own joy of painting. Conversely, Picasso’s naked figures are primitive but have lost their innocence, stripped not only of identity but of even anatomy. Still heroic, the Demoiselles defy traditional standards of beauty just as Picasso shattered traditional modes of painting. Suddenly anything can be considered art, and artists as well as the public must rethink how they see the world.
The absence or presence of clothing in a painting is often used to speak of a higher truth than mere titillation. H.W. Jansen’s History of Art says that “Manet’s famous painting Luncheon on the Grass seemed so revolutionary a work when first exhibited more than a century ago that it caused a scandal, in part because the artist had dared to show an undressed young woman next to two men in fashionable contemporary dress. People assumed that Manet had intended to represent an actual event. Not until many years later did an art historian discover the source of these figures: a group of classical deities from an engraving after Raphael.” After the shock of this unusual grouping passes, we find that the painting challenges social conventions of the times while paying homage to tradition and the old masters. It is the nude woman who is comfortable in her natural element. Manet is speaking of appropriateness - in their suits, the men are the ones out of place.
In this context, Nina Gomez Gordon conceptualized the indoor/outdoor installation On the Line. Comprised of hundreds of drawings by Nina, Mitch Gordon, and Thomas Carberry from weekly figure drawing sessions, and curated and installed by Mitch and Nina, the exhibit was a celebration of the beauty and awkwardness of the human form. The taboo of public nudity and private voyeurism was challenged by confronting viewers with years of work of looking and drawing. During the reception, artists and the public were invited to draw from a live model. The resulting art work then became part of the show.
The show was dedicated in loving memory of sculptor and painter Tom Maley, who hosted weekly figure drawing sessions in his living room. “No one buys nudes anymore.” – Tom Maley
Drawing Toms by Nina Gomez Gordon, 25”x40” oil on canvas
Participating artists: Frank Brunelle – drawings and solarized prints, Tom Carberry - drawings, Marston Clough – etchings and drawings, Mitch Gordon – drawings and paintings, Nina Gomez Gordon – drawings and paintings, Ray Gordon - drawings, David LaPointe - photographs, Steve Lohman – wire sculptures, Eleanor Rodegast - drawing, Omar and Sheila Rayyan – drawings, and Rose Treat – seaweed collages.
More views inside the gallery; above is a pen and ink sketch by Marston Clough.
Sketches by Tom Carberry, Mitch Gordon, and Nina Gomez Gordon. Framed seaweed collages by Rose Treat, sculpture by James Masek.
Five Minuets, 12”x26” oil on canvas
Red Head, 16”x20” oil on canvas by Nina Gomez Gordon, winner of MVAS 1995 blue ribbon in painting
World, 4’x6’ oil on canvas by Nina Gomez Gordon