Published in What's on & Expat 27 January 2008
The nude as a subject for artists has been around for thousands of years, although when Greece ruled the world it was the male nude that predominated. It wasn’t until the Renaissance that the female nude started to become popular. In the intervening 600 years, she has come to overshadow he as the artist’s choice of subject matter.
Continuing in this tradition Janice Liuson-Young’s exhibition of nudes at Megamall’s Artasia are of the female variety. Unlike the voluptuous women of renaissance or the pin up style favoured by contemporary photographers, her nudes are light and airy drawings. At first glance they seem to be charcoal or pastel renderings, but closer investigation reveals they are acrylics on canvas.
For these works Liuson-Young is as much concerned about her marks on the canvas and their relationship with picture plane as she is about rendering the female form. As in “Figure V” and “Figure VII” where she uses the head and upper torso to create a diagonal slash within the rectangle of canvas. In Figure VIII she creates a sweeping line to divide the canvas vertically whilst in Figure VI she breaks up the space horizontally. The detail of the body in these latter two works is only hinted at.
That being said in four of the 14 works in Liuson-Young’s exhibition she has rendered her subjects more fully. In Figures XII and XIV she has added a second lighter colour to her palette to flesh out her subjects. Whilst in Figures II and III she has worked the backgrounds to enhance the mood expressed by her subjects. In “Figure II” the red and orange background underscores the sitter’s challenging expression whilst the blues and yellows of “Figure III” provide a serenity for this demure model.
Liuson-Young’s works have a modern feel to them which is complemented by her choice of framing. She presents her works as squares within squares with the larger square, the frame, being a solid black that contrasts well with the canvas of the painting and its content. The overall effect draws the eye into the subject matter and would compliment a contemporary décor very nicely.
Janice Liuson-Young’s exhibition continues until the 15th of February at Artasia Gallery, 4th Level Art Walk, Building A, SM Megamall, Mandaluyong City.