Have I Got Nudes for You! A Celebration of the Naked Truth

Friday 4th March to Friday 1st April 2011

A provocative new exhibition featuring artworks by some HWAT artists, Have I Got Nudes for You! – A Celebration of the Naked Truth, opened at The Harleston Gallery last weekend. More than thirty regional artists are participating in this exhibition of powerful, sensitive, witty, charming, amusing & thoughtful artworks exploring human beings in their naked bodies.

Have I Got Nudes for You! - A Celebration of the Naked Truth - art exhibition

Have I Got Nudes for You! – A Celebration of the Naked Truth

The study of the nude figure in art continues to fascinate artists as a subject in these contemporary times, a tradition in art that spans many centuries of history, from the earliest cave paintings to religious icons & murals, epic battle scenes to incarnations of grace & beauty.

The theme of this exhibition evolved from a local news story that subsequently featured on the pages of many national newspapers. Last year a local artist (John Vesty) arranged an exhibition of a series of nude figure paintings in a North Norfolk Council gallery, but within an hour of the work being displayed the pictures were removed and stowed in a cupboard because some council employees objected to the portrayal of nudity.  Faced with this reversion to Victorian prudery, a group of local & regional artists have been inspired to strike back with this open celebration of the nude in contemporary art.

Have I Got Nudes for You! – A Celebration of the Naked Truth is open now and continues to Friday 1st April 2011 at The Harleston Gallery, 3 Old Marketplace, Harleston, Norfolk, IP20 9BE – email harlestongallery@btinternet.com or telephone 01379 855 366 for more details. The Harleston Gallery is open Monday to Saturday 10 am to 4 pm. Refreshments are also available in the Gallery Cafe, so please drop by and see this exciting exhibition!

A recent review of the exhibition Have I Got Nudes for You! by Robert Radford

One of the agreeable extravagances of the English language is that it offers us the two words ‘naked’ and ‘nude’ to speak of the body without clothing. The first suggesting exposure and shame, the second, exhibition and celebration – the particular province of art.

It must be said that the current show at The Harleston Gallery ‘Have I Got Nudes for You’ steers energetically towards the pole of celebration.  Around forty artists from across Norfolk & Suffolk, from Cromer to Yarmouth, have contributed to the show with work ranging through oils, drawings, prints, sculpture and painted tiles.

The visitor will also be aware of the complex mosaic of styles and approaches represented by this company of highly individual artists.  There is much evidence of the accomplished and concentrated study of the traditional male and female life model, which many artists would still insist provides  the necessary discipline at the foundation of their activity.

There are knowing homages to Manet and Beckmann and even to the Classical frieze.  There is wit in plenty, especially the animated and annotated underwear displayed on the stairwell, and eccentricity enough, look out for the still life with the toes and bacon.  But there is also expressionist rage and bitter satire against media intrusion.  A carnivalesque encounter between farmyard animals and a nude that can only be described as ‘in your face’ will be long remembered.

Essentially, this feast of creative expression is to be heartily recommended to both the open-minded and the open-eyed.

Robert Radford is an artist, art historian and critic, author of a Phaidon study on Salvador Dali and of a forthcoming volume on di Chirico.