The 21st century has heralded a shift in the way the art world perceives representational art. Figurativism, neglected for most of the 20th century, now celebrates its glorious return. And as the figurative art has seen its renaissance, consequently the human form as a subject has regained importance.
Inquiries into body identity and image, the intersection between humans and technology and humanity overall are increasingly present in our daily lives. Although most artists no longer place their figures in front of ancient ruins nor make mythological references, the human form has never stopped intriguing us. The variety of approaches to figurative art with the main focus on the human figure is immense.
This April Untitled Factory Gallery have the pleasure of hosting a very special exhibition “Le renouveau figuratif“ by John Kelly and Morgann Andrieux. The exhibit examines two artists working with the human figure. Morgann is a young French artist whose work is inspired by classic and realistic paintings, while John is an American artist working with the human figure since the 80s and utilising old masters techniques for his paintings. Juxtaposition of their work brings to mind the master apprentice relation. Both are portraying the figure in an academic manner, nevertheless using it as vehicle for expressing contemporary cultural ideas.
Le renouveau figuratif surveys two leading artists working with the human figure in Paris. Worldwide, young artists are increasingly turning to interpreting the human figure, often utilizing techniques dating from the 16th century as a vehicle for expressing contemporary cultural ideas. The flowering of contemporary figuritive art is particularly evident in Paris, centred around century-old ateliers, as well as organic groups of artists determined to explore visceral relationship between the viewer and themselves.
About the artists
John was born in Paris, but grew up in New York. He studied at the School of Visual Arts in the 1980s. His earlier work was influenced mainly by the Abstract Expressionists and the German Expressionists. From 1983 John’s work became primarily figurative, and has remained so every since. His influences since then have gravitated towards 19th century French painting, especially Degas, as well as contemporary figurative painters like William Bailey and Jeremy Lipking, and traditional Japanese prints. In his paintings, John first and foremost wants to capture the psychological state of the model, and also to explore the relationship of the viewer to the model. This varies between having the model unaware of the gaze, to having the model appropriate the gaze and challenge the viewer as to his or her relationship to the model.
Morgann is a young French artist from Le Mans. From an early age he became fascinated with drawing the human form and as a teenager Morgann turned to sculpture and painting. With many inspirations, ranging from Dante’s poetry to Auguste Rodin’s curves, he explored the human body in its numerous shapes, before finding his baroque way to express and to embody his artistic style. His work is influenced by classic and realistic paintings, such as Caravaggio’s. Sensitive and generous, Morgann is obsessed by his surroundings, the world and human relationships, which can be easily observed through his work.