'Knead' (1995) - Jenny Saville
One of Saville’s most recognisable paintings ‘Knead’, I believe is one of her most powerful and shocking. The painting features the bruised and scarred features of a patient undergoing plastic surgery, which from first glance is a complete assault of the viewer’s sensibilities with Saville truly emphasizing the scars and blemishes upon the patients battered face with a strong use of colour and clever application of media. Here, Saville again demonstrates her ability to make the repulsive seem somehow entirely captivating with the immediacy with the flesh drawing the viewer further into the work. By showing the piece as during rather than after the operation and healing process have been completed, the cosmetic gloss is completely stripped away with the temporary scars that form the path to the supposed beauty of the final result being shown.
A feature ‘Knead’ holds common to the large majority of Jenny Saville’s work is the complete refusal to the painting norm of idealised beauty, with a warm yellow iodine glow and a bruised and slashed face instead giving an honest yet grim reality of the true form. There is also a satirical element to the painting, where saville pays a great deal of attention to conveying the ugliness of the subject matter when in reality the procedure the patient is undergoing is one of ‘beauty’. I admire Saville for this as not only can she paint yet also has strong opinions and an ability to convey them in a subtle and not overwhelming sense.
As well as an appreciation for the colour and subject matter, I am also in awe of the mark making that has gone on in the construction of the painting. Saville’s proud brush strokes give the figure an almost structural quality which is also supported by the colossal size of the canvas, giving the viewer more of an idea of the sense of mass and weight of the figure. There is also a certain fleshiness brought about with these strong strokes too, and there seems as if there would be a certain malleability to the flesh.
Posted 1 year ago with 56 notes
artist research, drawing and painting, jenny saville,