The Contemporary Figure

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Geoff Tuck reviews the exhibition The Figure in Contemporary Art, Curated by Thomas Butler, at Cypress College, Cypress, CA, on view through November 1, 2012.

Tuck writes: "There is a freemasonry of painting among figurative painters – and I mean the term in the metaphoric sense of a secret club as well as the sense of a guild of highly developed craftsmen, for great skill is required to observe and render the body. And it is both, observation as well as drafting. Over a lifetime of close watching one learns how muscles move and pull and place our bones into postures, and the ways that our bodies and faces can reveal our thoughts; the long, slow, laborious practice of making marks to represent what one sees isn’t as direct as the same thing might be if one takes a photograph, the mark-making also conveys what one senses and feels. The hand is an interpreter, not a copiest. In my simplistic way, it seems to me that other arts can make statements about the human experience, while painting offers a breadth of interpretation that equals life."

The show includes works by Domenic Cretara, Jerome Witkin, Juliette Aristides, Kate Lehman, Odd Nerdrum, Paul Fenniak, Ruth Weisberg, Sharon Allicotti, Sigmund Abeles, Steven Assael, Thomas Stubbs, and Vito Leonardo Scarola.

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