Clatsop Community College is proud to announce that the artwork selected for the seventh annual international competition Au Naturel: The Nude in the 21st Century is on display at CCC's Art Center Gallery, 1799 Lexington Avenue, Astoria, OR. The Au Naturel exhibit will run from February 21st through March 28th, 2013.
The CCC Art Center Gallery will host a reception honoring the selected artists on Thursday, March 7th at 6:00 pm. This year's juror, Clint Brown, will be present to give a gallery talk. Awards to be announced at the reception include cash prizes, purchase awards, a solo show award to be held during the 2013-2014 exhibition season, and a select number of workshop awards. The Bridgewater Bistro and Clemente's Restaurant are generously providing hors d’oeuvres for the event, and Erikson Floral Company is generously providing flowers. A No-Host Post-Reception party at the Astoria Coffeehouse and Bistro, at 243 11th Street in downtown Astoria, will immediately follow the reception. In addition to the gallery talk he will give during the reception, Mr. Brown will also give a lecture entitled “Nude vs. Naked” on Friday, March 8th at 10:00 a.m. in CCC’s Columbia Hall Room 219, 1651 Lexington Avenue, Astoria, which is free and open to the public.
The Au Naturel exhibit and opening reception are free and open to the public. Special thanks to the Cannery Pier Hotel, the Astoria Coffeehouse and Bistro, the Bridgewater Bistro, Clemente’s Restaurant, and Erikson Floral Company. The CCC Art Center Gallery is located at 1799 Lexington Avenue in Astoria and is ADA accessible. The gallery hours are from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturdays from 11:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. The gallery is open on Sundays and holidays by appointment only. Please note that special Spring Break hours from March 25th through March 28th are 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Now in its seventh consecutive year, the competition continues to attract hundreds of submissions from across the country and around the world. Juror Clint Brown was “intrigued and pleased to view the high quality and wide variety of artists’ responses among the works submitted.” Over 600 images were submitted by artists from 26 states and Canada, Mexico, China, Morocco, and the United Kingdom. After a great deal of consideration, Mr. Brown selected a total of 54 works of art from the pool of submissions. This year’s show will represent 47 artists from 16 states as well as Canada.
In addition, for the third consecutive year, other venues in downtown Astoria will be exhibiting nudes in a collective show entitled Nudes Downtown: A Compendium of Art Inspired by Au Naturel, and several of this year’s Au Naturel artists are participating. A special gallery walk will be held on Saturday, March 9th. The participating venues include Astoria Coffeehouse and Bistro, Astoria Fine Arts, Dots ‘N Doodles Art Supplies, Imogen Gallery, Kala @ HipFish, Light Box Photographic Gallery, Old Town Framing, RiverSea Gallery, and Studio 11.
The CCC Performing Arts Center will also be exhibiting nudes in the lobby during the performances of the Vagina Monologues, which will be held on Friday, March 8th and Saturday, March 9th at 7:00 p.m.
Clint Brown, Professor Emeritus at Oregon State University is serving as this year’s juror. He is an artist who has consistently used the human figure as a means of commenting on the human condition. His work has encompassed painting, drawing, printmaking, bronze and resin casting, and large scale public sculpture. He is the author of two books on art, Drawing from Life and Artist to Artist. He has taught numerous workshops throughout Oregon and also spent four weeks in Rome teaching a drawing class to university students.
In describing his selection process, Mr. Brown explains, “The first thing I considered was the extent to which each work of art employed the nude as its subject and the degree to which it was developed artistically. I also wanted this exhibit to show a diverse range of expressive possibilities. There are works you are sure to admire, some that will amuse, and some that may confront or embarrass. The nude in art is always more than an object or a subject; it is a catalyst for debate: Is the figure nude or is it naked? Is it pornography or is it art? The artists who submitted their work to the Au Naturel exhibit are presenting the body without clothing, but not without bias.”
As in previous years, artists exhibiting in the 2013 exhibit represent a wide range of approaches to the human form. Canadian artist Brian Smith of Toronto has been “drawing and painting the human form for well over forty years” and continues “to derive an enormous amount of pleasure from it.” In his own words, he perfectly expresses the spirit of the Au Naturel competition, “Whether a classical drawing of the nude in sanguine chalk or an abstracted painting of the figure, the thrill of the human form and the challenge of recording and interpreting that form and its gestures and surfaces keeps bringing me back daily. I am an artist because the human form inspires.”
Juror Clint Brown describes the nude as “perhaps the most enduring and content-loaded subject in art history,” and the artists in this year's exhibit draw inspiration from a wide range of sources and themes, often with art historical references. Hunter Clarke of Ardencroft, DE, who will be exhibiting two paintings in the show, compares her work to medieval beastiaries, which she defines as “compendiums which would have an illustration of each animal accompanied by a moral lesson.” She creates “characters that are animal/human hybrids,” placing them “in the stage-setting of a background abstracted from historical textile patterns, often with some messiness and hidden blood.” Through her images, the artist hopes to “reveal the primal, undomesticated nature within our tempered, societal selves.”
Kelly Blevins of Pittsburgh, PA, also creates work that is extremely political. She describes herself as a 2-Dimensional artist working in classical media and techniques to create contemporary drawings with charcoal, expressing human nature, spirit and form. She explains that her 30” x 22” charcoal drawing that was chosen for the exhibit entitled Prisoner II is “part of a three part series that represents the happenings at Guantanamo Bay Detention Camp. It is meant to encourage awareness of not just political matters, but mostly to capture what humanity is capable of in a state of panic.”
Lisa Ackerman of Astoria, OR, who will be exhibiting in the Au Naturel for the fourth time, finds great inspiration in the art movement of Surrealism. “Capturing the essence of a subject through identification with a deity and totem or animal daemon has been of great interest to me, as it lays the groundwork for realizing the surreal and fantastical side of life, and opens one to new pathways and exploratory journeys,” she explains. “Surreal visions help us to see the similarities between cultures while enjoying our differences and enabling us to become balanced in this crazy yet brilliant and diverse world.”
Michael Reedy of Ann Arbor, MI will also be exhibiting in the Au Naturel for the fourth time and was selected by Juror Rick Bartow for the first place award in the 2009 show. He has focused on the human figure as the subject of his artwork for the past twenty years, and explains that his sources of inspiration, while “rooted in depictions of the body,” fall outside the canon of art history. He explains that in his work, “the ongoing references to anatomical illustration, and its benign approach to depicting pain and death, and cartooning serve to both underscore the comedic tragedy of physical existence, as well as the frailties that increasingly define our sense of self as we age. In each instance, the unsettling presence of the open body (removed from its traditional context) presents complex questions of gender, pleasure, pain, interpretation, and reception, and results in works infused with a sense of scientific aura, moral lesson, and morbid entertainment. Consequently, I hope the viewer is seduced into disregarding the boundaries between interior and exterior, between looking and feeling, and between the real and the pictured body.”
Please direct inquiries to: Kristin Shauck, 503-338-2472.
Attached Images (3):
1. Brian Smith
(Toronto, Ontario Canada)
Mira reclined, Pastel pencil on midtone paper, 23" x 35"
2. Hunter Clarke
Practice of the blood, Oil on panel, 16" x 16"
3. Michael Reedy
Ann Arbor, MI
Blash, Mixed media on paper, 42” x 29”