Achieving a flawless depiction of the human figure has long been the battle throughout the world of art. Not only must the artist be successful in their rendition of human condition, it is the staple of the artists training or artistic talent and has been since antiquity. As the intervention of religion and politics has abated, the human figure has been explored for what it is, not solely what it represents, allowing for freedom of artistic expression and autonomous interpretation.
Plus One Gallery’s exhibition “The Naked Truth” is an appreciation of the human figure in contemporary hyperrealist art and the importance of the relationship between the artist and their subject. The artists represented will be Toby Boothman, Tom Martin, Juan Cossio, Hubert de Lartigue, Francisco Rangel and Craig Wylie; all of which borrow an aspect of conventional painting, whether that is composition or technique, and execute them in a contemporary manner. While Boothman uses a traditional Flemish painting technique to create his corporeal nudes, De Lartigue borrows a compositional approach to render his works timeless, contrasting the sensual with the chaste. Cossio draws our attention to the human expression by draping his nudes in stark fabric and placing them in specific arrangements connoting ideals of religious imagery; the austerity of his works however, making the paintings resolutely contemporary. Martin’s figures appear out of context, and in turn, somewhat vulnerable when juxtaposed, for instance, with large scale everyday objects. His use of perspective to lure the viewer into a hyper-reality is reminiscent of Pre-Raphaelite methods and artworks. Rangel’s hybrid nude, in a traditional contrapposto stance, really demonstrates the coming together of Classical and Contemporary art with the monochrome figure set against a bold yellow backdrop. With a background in Christian iconography, Rangel seems to modernise the conventional nude whilst retaining the incredible skill employed to successfully celebrate the figure.Craig Wylie’s figure represents the artist’s need to get under the skin of his sitters, to convey the human condition with clarity and integrity. His interest in the union of paint, the image, technology and subjective experience make for highly considered renderings of his subjects.
The precision and aptitude of these hyperrealist painters allows for a deeper exploration into the human condition whilst creating a completely innovative yet surreal context; a new sense of reality. The artists and their works represented are a means of furthering the way we portray and view the human figure in art.