Les Dems explained is what the title of the blog says it is. An explanation of what’s actually happening in ‘Les Demoiselles d’ Barrow Gurney‘. This and accompanying YouTube video, point to deeper implications in the artwork. Unlike Picasso’s ugly, angular whores – Dedman’s porno slappers are animated with purpose. Empowered!
Born (so to speak) at Studio 1.1 gallery in Redchurch Street, East London – ‘Les Demoiselles d’ Barrow Gurney’ is one of a series by the artist. Dedman is well qualified to work in this genre (the nude), against the current trend – which eschews it altogether.
Asked why life drawing is so important, Alan Dedman once replied: ‘because it’s the acid test, give someone a sheet of paper, drawing board and a pencil – sit them in front of a nude human being and they will either be able to make sense of it or their ineptitude will be apparent’. Obviously, there is more to the process – conditioning through Art training and acceptance of cultural norms have a bearing on someone’s capacity to draw from life (observation).
The curvaceous charm of female nudity beguiles onlookers so they peruse visual statements set before them. Erotic impulses aside, Art students invariably prefer female models over males. Men are worthy of attention but there is hardness in male form, straight lines instead of receptive, sinuous curves.
The life drawing above, made by Alan Dedman at the Royal Academy Schools, demonstrates harder lines to be found in the male nude. An explanatory / teaching drawing by Norman Blamey RA, can be seen in the top right corner. Art iconography indulges the myth of painter and muse. Picasso’s mistress, Fernande Olivier, provided inspiration for his seminal work Les Demoiselles d’ Avignon, though she was said to be displeased with the way she appears in the painting. Picasso’s ‘sex workers‘ stare at us – their eyes are like his – dark, empty, sucking us in.
Les Demoiselles d’ Barrow Gurney inverts the values associated with Picasso’s work. These people are imbued with character, created during translation from ‘photo reference‘ to cartoon. Fleshy contours become hardened outlines, Dedman’s porn muses snarl and glare at us, no longer passive. Above all this painting is a celebration of painterly fun.
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‘Les Demoiselles d’ Barrow Gurney’ is in mixed media on canvas, 84 inches wide, 48 inches high. It is for sale and can be purchased from this website for £9,500.00 gbp.