Contested body

Presenting the human body, naked or nude, removes the comfortable distancing layer that clothing provides. Marc Sijan relishes exposure, using it to foster a sense of emotional realism. Embrace invites the viewer to pause and study the intensity of the engagement binding his two subjects together. In contrast, Jamie Salmon’s approach to the body seeks to disrupt our perception of reality. By exposing Lily’s hollow interior, Salmon highlights our contemporary society’s focus upon external appearance.

John DeAndrea’s idealised female figures Lisa and Ariel I are positioned in conversation with Paul McCarthy’s triplicate, That Girl (T.G. Awake). Both artists work from life casts, moulds taken directly from a live model—to explore the concept of ideal beauty.  Referencing the poses and themes of classical sculpture through to Renaissance painting, DeAndrea’s figures conform to the conventions of the female nude in western art. 

In contrast, McCarthy’s sculptural forms oppose this historical representation by exploring the grotesque body. Contradicting the notion of ideal beauty where bodily functions are minimised, the grotesque body exaggerates body parts that either protrude or can be entered. Although That Girl is presented with her legs splayed and her vagina exposed, she is not intentionally sexualised by the artist. By interrupting the contours of the body and exposing its interiors, That Girl transgresses the boundaries of ideal beauty and interrogates the symbolic significance of the body.