A few years ago, expanding my repertoire of painting people, I decided to take up the traditional theme of the nude in landscape. My first point of interest was to treat this subject in a contemporary manner by using, for example, a more “photographic” technique of cropping in my compositions as well as strong contrasts of light and “snapshot” or random gestures more typical of photography than of painting. At the same time I am attempting to maintain a tie to the long tradition of the painted nude as an art form through my use of classical painting techniques.
The second and perhaps more important point of interest in pursuing this theme is its relevance in our current de-humanized society. I am interested in drawing attention to our relationship to our own bodies in particular and to nature in general. The increasingly disturbed relationship between man and nature is at present what is behind the greatest threats to our well being, as well as our future existence. I have been quite surprised by many people’s discomfort with this work and I believe, considering the long history of the nude as an art form, that this discomfort reflects a lack of balance indicative of our times. I would like to encourage people to be aware of that lack of balance and discomfort and possibly to reflect on the causes of it.
Why must the people be nude? The main reason why I have stripped the people of their clothes is so that I may remove all social indicators such as status, culture, political positions, etc., and exclusively confront the human being in his essential animal form, where he is in fact closest to nature. Likewise I have stripped them of their civilized environment, house, furniture, car, etc. in favor of their original environment. Every article of clothing, accessory, object that we acquire as good consumers, contributes to our idea of identity which we use as a type of protection. Our “stuff” allows us to feel as if we were more than what we really are; mortals. While the stuff may distract us comfortably from our mortality it also defines and separates us from one another. It is the things that we all share, what we have in common, which bring us closer to one another, not our differences. That is what I wish to focus on in my work.