An Art of Depth, Not Surface

We usually consider disciplines in isolation, even though many of the most important artistic experiments throughout history were collaborations involving several areas of study; for example, art and anatomy. Inspired by anatomy, Austrian artist, Oskar Kokoschka (1886 – 1980) looked to reveal a figure “not naked, but flayed”. He associated the truth of a person with the physical layers that were revealed underneath the skin.

Oskar Kokoschka Self Portrait as the Warrior 1909
Oskar Kokoschka
Self Portrait as the Warrior
1909

Anatomy and art have shared a mutually enriching and a parallel history. During the Renaissance in Italy, the rebirth of classical Greek and Roman characteristics in art led to the study of  human anatomy.   In the 19th century the term écorché, meaning literally “flayed”, came into usage via the French Academies. Thankfully, this form of study still continues at schools throughout the world.

Lauren A. Toomer. Face(M1), 2014. Oil on canvas24 x 36 inches
Lauren A. Toomer. Face(M2), 2014. Oil on canvas24 x 36 inches
Lauren A. Toomer. Face(M1), 2014, Oil on panel
Lauren A. Toomer. Face(M1), 2014. Oil on panel

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was stated in the book, “Untwisting the Serpent”, by Daniel Albright that the artist, Kokoschka, “flays his characters alive in order to screw up the tension level of his art to its peak.”  While at Stanford, I have continued to pursue and create this peak. Anatomy has become a vehicle for me to capture the human body with greater accuracy, beauty, grace, and sensitivity.

Lauren A. Toomer Figured  2014
Lauren A. Toomer
Figured
2014, Acrylic, pastel, oil, and graphite on paper. 48 x 44 inches