Sunday, July 26, 2009

Good Naked....Bad Naked.

My thoughts on "Resurrecting Eve", have been spoken of as a post concerning: Boobs. If that is all someone came away with, you missed my point. The discussion was intended to address the complexities of "good naked and bad naked" to use a Seinfeld phrase. I believe that nudity is appropriate in art. I think there is a difference between pornography and the representation of the human nude figure. I also am aware of the dangers, bondage and addictions that are part of human experience relating to sexuality. But I make it a habit to never govern my life by the failures of others to maintain proper relationship with whatever it is that they have overindulged in...be it food, sex, money, ego, fame, religion or intellectual achievement.

Work is good...a workaholic is bad.
Sex is good...prostitution is bad.
Having money to cover life's expenses is good...gambling your paycheck away is bad.
Cheese cake is good....eating the whole pie is bad.

Using anyones discussions on fine art to fuel or excuse your addiction to porn is a sad excuse for maturity. I am aware that these discussions are generally for responsible, intelligent, moral adults; who are engaged in cultural engagement, mission minded, artistic reclamation. A issue for those who are passionate about restoring a beauty aesthetic to our communities through celebration, involvement and defense of the fine arts. "As part of that mission manifesto one must understand that in the artist tradition; the human figure is seen as the linchpin of ones practice of visual knowledge. If you can accurately and expressively draw or paint or sculpt the human form you can draw anything....You can only draw what you can see, and that which you cannot see cannot be fully known."

An example of the issue would be the picture of David by Michelangelo. A strict Fundamentalist would look at that statue; which is considered a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture...and only see a penis. The focal point of the statue for some people's minds would be the nudity of David. Everything else would be forgotten or be secondary to the issue most offensive...a uncircumcised genitalia. Forget the massive height, the masterful proportions, the exquisite form and movement, the posture and the meaning of it all. It would be reduced to the crotch of the statue. This mindset is what I was aiming at wrestling with in the previous post.


The figure, i.e. the nude figure (and I do not mean nudity in the political sense for which so many arguments have been waged concerning censorship), is a soulful being, created we are told in the image of God and imbued with the stretch and celebration of dance, the gravity and reflection of thought, the expression and imagination of spirit. To see the figure in this light is to honor, not to worship it. We come to draw the figure with eyes focused to study, not to lust. We revel in our lines, smudges, colors, clay forms, to render the poetry of all that is human, not to debase it as the pornographer's butcher shop. In fact, we rebel in our prints, pictures, and sculpture against the newsstand rags, which pervert the man or woman that was made with a temple in mind. If as Christians and artists we seek to elevate the nude figure as a metaphor for what it means to truly be alive at a certain time, in a certain place, then we have accomplished a great deal. If, however, we reduce ourselves to the naked body, we are relegated to being the makers of empty vessels without full transcendence, and therefore merely a cold and shivering heap of parts. -"On The Nude in Art" By James Zingarelli, Art Chair, Sculpture and Drawing Instructor, Gordon College (a Christian institution)

"In every block of marble I see a statue as plain as though it stood before me, shaped and perfect in attitude and action. I have only to hew away the rough walls that imprison the lovely apparition to reveal it to the other eyes as mine see it."
-Michelangelo
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