Cycling: ‘Orrible ride home in the sleet & headwind. Shouldn’t have bothered.Jenny Saville: a colleague bought a book on her painting recently which I looked at yesterday. A later lesson – I was pulled by by a morbid curiosity to look again. The pictures were full of blood, light by strip-light green and portrayed women who appeared to have had surgery- cosmetic surgery. They had stitches, were soaked in blood, and mostly were naked. The pictures in real life are very large indeed. In close-up the paint is boldly applied, in thick daubs with a palette knife and usually not densely covering the canvas.
The pictures seem to be about human beings as lumps of meat, objects for the surgeon’s procedures- helpless and injured. they look as if actually dripping wth blood, anatomically vivid but also often distorted by wide angle lens of just mounds of body fat.
Jenny Savile can really paint. She has insightful colour vision, solid anatomy and the people depicted are really alive with a warm sympathy. The pictures are frightening to say the least-and so test your stamina; repellent, but curiosity draws you back- how can a mere piece of canvas cause such a strong reaction? I haven’t even seen the paintings in real life, it’s been years since seeing any of her photographs as well but now I must have this book. It such a compelling desire that I don’t care how much it costs financially.