Artistic Advisor at the American Academy in Rome, Wendy Artin completed her undergraduate studies in French Literature and Painting at the University of Pennsylvania and her Masters of Fine Art at the Museum School of the Boston Museum of Fine Arts.
Her artwork is in museums and private collections.
She has exhibited in New York, Boston, Rome, Milan and Paris. Her work has been featured in Pratique Des Arts, American Artist, The New York Observer, Vanity Fair, Gourmet, Elle Decoration, Cote Sud, French Vogue, Elle, Carnet, and the Boston Globe, among other publications. She has been featured on BRAVO television's Arts & Minds.
In Wendy Artin’s new exhibition, Révèle, the American artist explores absence, beauty and the corporeal in her representation of the human form.
Révèle brings together 57 pieces in watercolour, charcoal and chalk on white or brown paper capturing both live models and statues, all caught in a fleeting glance that belies stunning craft.
They reflect an ongoing conversation around stone and flesh that Artin has pursued as one of the world’s most brilliant watercolourists, while pushing her into new technical achievements.
Her work shows fragments of the human body, allowing the viewer to imagine the rest. The light chalk or brushwork adds to our sense of a fleeting glimpse, caught in time.
“Having the information be just barely there, almost there, or suggested, allows for breath, for relief,” says Artin.
“The space to breathe has always been for me the white of the paper,” she says. “Using brown paper instead meant doing something different. I wanted them to look as if they had just happened, like, poof! The white chalk barely grazing the surface before flitting off again, like pollen.”
Fragments reveal, give meaning, beauty, perhaps unease. Here the human body is present in all its pulsating life, its joy and fragility. The live models are in voluptuous poses, sprawled out after merriment and bacchanal.
“They’re a celebration of our round bodies, velvety torsos, our smooth skin reflecting who we are in all our lovable fascinating seductive selves. All too often hung shamefully in the bedroom or bathroom, we need to liberate the nude,” she said.
Artin lives with her family in Rome. The once upon a time nomad arrived there 25 years ago, where she would start a rock collection in hopes of weighing her down to one spot.
“I still think about those rocks when I think of the materials that I use. The rocks are the chalk and the charcoal. Watercolour is like flesh, while charcoal and chalk are hard and cold, but give the illusion of light and depth and warmth,” says Artin.
The Eternal City provides one side of the coin in the fountain for Artin, with its classicism and its eloquent light being a constant companion.
And if nudes can cause the eye to avert, statues invite closer inspection. With all Artin’s work, the viewer is drawn in and up close rewarded: the illusion vanishing into the abstraction of chalk dust or the residue of pigment from watercolour evaporated.
“Stone imitates flesh in statues, and then again once removed is the watercolor or charcoal imitating the light on the stone that imitates flesh,” she said.
Adam and Eve may have used their leaves to cover up, but there’s nothing modest about the most ambrosial fruit of all, the fig. Artin captures the juicy decadent flesh with visually stunning watercolours of figs from the summer harvest.
Statues and live models, motion and stillness, anatomy and light, fragments asking questions of absences, Artin’s latest exhibition will please her current admirers and surely bring her new fans.
What has been said about Wendy Artin:
“Artin’s work oscillates between the effortless grace and fluency of the human body asked not to move for a few seconds and the stillness of marble that craves to move and does move and finally speaks in the enigmatic tongue of watercolor brushstrokes,” André Aciman.