If art is only what we wish to see, which is just acceptable to our mind, entertaining, vibrant with colors enough to compliment the paint on the walls of our houses, framed, furnished, and costly and definitely not Nude, then I am depressed. I am disappointed by our distaste and hypocrisy in abandoning what is assoil yet holy, abstract yet crystal clear, tone down yet shouting.
What all of us have failed to realize is, even the dirty mind is a conditioned one. All the ‘morals’ drilled by our parents, doctrines, dogmas, religions and teachers are working the other way round. They don’t show what is appropriate, rather they hint us towards what is inappropriate. It is so unfortunate that such proscribing has closed our minds and turned our brains into black and white. Where is the power of appreciation in us?
Well, it is not our fault, it is the devil to be blamed, the serpent in the Eden garden to be blamed for corrupting the simplicity of life even before it had blossomed.
“What spirit is so empty and blind, that it cannot recognize the fact that the foot is more noble than the shoe, and skin more beautiful that the garment with which it is clothed?”
The stipulated mind we have makes us draw inherent conclusions. Nude is inherently thought of as dirty, obscene and sinful. Why is there so much discomfort with instinctual expressions such as skin? Mere skin cells? The distinction between naked and nude is just a thin line of sensitivity. Naked is as twisted as a rude joke and does not require much effort to understand. Nude is more complex and softer, it is as serene as a clear sky. The artists practicing nude art do not bare any perverse or voyeuristic intentions nor any intention to stimulate by the sensual factor as argued by a few. A subject of exploration can be anything of nature varying from a mountain to a human body.
A woman’s body has been an undying theme. I happened come across some paintings dating back to 18th century renaissance to modern, both foreign and native. I could see uncanny similarities between today’s market standard of beauty and the old nude paintings. None of them are appealing to me. I find myself unrepresented in those paintings. To that matter I feel, the body of an ordinary Indian woman is not that easy to paint. How I wish painting was as easy as writing in words. If only any painter who reads this gets impressed, tries to grasp my thought and accomplishes my imagination.
I have always wondered why people take solace in deception. Art is most of the time deceptive like fiction writing. Unreal, un-accomplishable, utopian and naive. I am in search of a surrealistic art form which actually reveals an astonishing truth. A perspective painting which reverses popular notions. Nude art is great way to trap people, get them stuck at a point and later hit them deep.
I have no idea how art students are taught to draw the silhouette of a female body. But, bodies are not so standard. The beginning of drawing such a shape could have been for the purpose of studying anatomy. But, don’t you think the crescent shaped hips and slim legs are too angelic? In reality bodies have fat distributed unevenly. At least a slightly protruding belly, over-sized thighs and hips falling out. If curves are beautiful, then a stout body must be more than just beautiful. I say, the imagery of exactly symmetrical, pointy, and round breasts was a wrong guess. An unclothed body has breasts loosely falling, not saggy, not hanging, but falling
Most of the old paintings show pale, smooth skin with not a scar anywhere just like those models in the TV. Discussing skin color might be a wrong argument, but an ordinary Indian woman might not have a skin that as soft as cream. The biggest omission in Nude paintings is body hair. For instance, have you ever wondered why we have pubic hair? There must be a reason if we grew up to have it. Why is it considered so undesirable? Eve Ensler, the author of the Vagina Monologues lists down a number of metaphors in her plays to describe the vagina with hair. Once she says, the hair resembles the sepal of a flower protecting its petals. Showing bare skin does not imply appreciating the woman body in real sense. In fact, even the eyebrows aren’t so perfectly raised. There is extra light hair in between the two eyesbrows as though they are connected.
The feminine flavor is best achieved by drawing raised heels. The woman on the canvas swings her hips left and right like a pendulum as she walks on the tips of her toes. But, trust me, an everyday woman does not walk like that. She might be walking on hard land, without footwear, balancing water pots over her head for quite long distances. An ordinary woman might have cracked heels which never bother her as such.
The navel! Sensuality and sexuality in Nude art is so hardwired by this one divine part, the navel and a smooth flat lower stomach. Details in paintings are surprise elements. Only a keen eye would capture them. Has any nude artist ever painted the itchy stretch marks after giving birth to babies. The marks which she cannot wipe off but carry them forever, like a permanent tattoo. If anybody has, please enlighten me.
‘A moon-lite face’, in a poet’s language. Where are the blemishes? The marks that pimples leave? The smudges of eyetex and the red color of the bindi ? Where are the pierces on the outer ear? Those that were done long back, she doesn’t even remember when. Can the painting capture the pain she went through to get the lovely nose ring? The long hair which runs beyond hips isn’t that smooth, conditioned, dry-blown and straight like lines. The loose hair is twisted due to regular plaiting. It is oily, sticky, dry, rough and splits in the ends.
Can you see there’s something which is faintly visible yet not so clear. On her lower lip, below her left eye and her neck. It is not the cosmetic touch she fondly gives herself occasionally, but a remark from an overpower to whom she serves silently. The bare back of a female body must have been a great center of study for sculptors and painters. The deceptive artists who run fingers on stones and canvases need to know the uncomfortable unusual unrhythmic course of the back.
What have I just imagined? The disclosure of concealed, hidden, hushed and unspoken stories of missing souls. Nothing is Nude. Unclothed is not Nude. Nothing is perfectly revealed as it occurs naturally. The Perfect Nude I aspire to see one day is the perfection of imperfection. This is my surreal imagery of Nude Art.