I was invited to participate in this years Dirty Show in Detroit MI, which opens Feb 12. I was initially hesitant to participate, as my paintings are often mistaken as erotica and it can get a little frustrating at times. There is nudity, but I actively try and steer away from anything that might be even slightly erotic — it’s really not what i’m going for. sure, there’s always going to be people who see a nipple and think, “porn”. sure, our various social networking solutions wholeheartedly remove art containing nudity (i’ve had many “…in violation of…” notices), validating those idiots who don’t approve. So my initial thought was that doing a purposefully erotic painting would be a bad idea; just having it out there making it harder for people to see past nudity…but I also really liked the idea of doing something so conceptually different.
And If I did something really erotic, maybe I’d have something for those people to compare my other stuff to; “this one is not erotic at all, those are just boobs — this one over here though, that one is erotic. enjoy!”
I’m barred from posting this one uncensored almost anywhere else, so feel free to click, save, and send around. info on the show below — look at that lineup! a big thank you to curator Genevive Zacconi for having me!
I’m happy to announce another print release with 1xRUN. “Surface” is NOW AVAILABLE and limited to 100 — signed and numbered. Also for the first time, the original piece is also available in tandem with the print release. ordering info and everything you ever wanted to know about this painting is available at http://1xrun.com/runs/Surface_-_Prints_Original_Artwork
Thought I would write a bit about my recent painting, “Lady With a Sphinx” which I humbly modeled after the Leonardo Da Vinchi painting, “Lady With an Ermine”.
This is my second attempt at a painting modeled after a classic, the first being my version (of Bouguereau’s version) of the Piéta. That one didn’t come out so good. of course it doesn’t help that the originals, in both cases, are amazing. but of course they are. I have always liked “Lady With an Ermine”; the lighting on the figure, the stark background, the lettering in the upper left hand corner, and of course, the Ermine (because what the fuck is an ermine?!). Thankfully, we have wikipedia, and a wealth of probably true information on Da Vinchi’s Original piece (here). to start, an Ermine is “…a stoat in its winter coat…” and ”…[they were] a traditional symbol of purity because it was believed an ermine would face death rather than soil its white coat.” cool right? (a stoat is a type of weasel by the way, I had to look that up too).
I thought it would be fun to redo the piece with a Sphinx, and I happen to know a model I painted for a small piece a few months back (here) that had one — and a particularly weasly one at that. so, perfect!
trying to get the reference photo looking similar was a challenge but an enjoyable one, as I never have a concrete idea of how I want reference to look, so there tends to be a lot of trial and error. this time, I messed with it until the pose and lighting was right, then just took a few hundred pictures there, with very subtle pose and expression changes. I ended up doing a bunch of work in photoshop post as well, especially because we shot the cat first, then worried about the figure — so I had to combine elements from 3 or 4 different shots. I obviously took some liberties with the costume and hairstyle — not exactly because I didn’t care to get that specific, but I didn’t feel those elements were necessities (and i’m no stylist or hairdresser). Margarita also has normal shoulders and collar bones, so the giant-trap/broken-shoulder look the Lady with an Ermine has wasn’t gonna happen.
One interesting aspect I learned during the research (wikipedia, again…hopefully mostly true) is that not only is the black background on the “Lady with an Ermine” not original, but the lettering in the top left corner isn’t either. Conservation is one thing, but adding text to a Da Vinchi?! pretty nuts. Also, whoever added the text, “LA BELE FERONIERE. LEONARD DAWINCI” mistook the subject for the Belle Ferronière, which “…is the Leonardo portrait in the Louvre, whose sitter bears such a close resemblance…”. That piece is also known as Portrait of an Unknown Woman, so when it came to adding text to my version, I went with “LA BELE INCONNU”, roughly translated as “the beautiful unknown”. I decided against writing a Polish phonetical transcription of my own name.
This is the last week of my show “Fathoms” at Lyons Wier Gallery in New York. If you’re in the area on or before June 7th, please drop by and let me know what you think. It’s had a really good response and i’m already very much looking forward to the next one.
The same day “Fathoms” comes down, “Three Figures” opens in LA (it’s been a busy few months!). I’m very excited to be showing with Jeremy Mann and Sean Cheetham and to be showing for the first time with Maxwell Alexander Gallery. If you’re in LA area, please come by. I’ll have 4 brand new smaller pieces along with some fantastic work by Jeremy and Sean. See you then! (info below)
Got a cool little studio visit from Platinum Cheese online here: http://platinumcheese.com/2014/05/08/studio-visit-with-aaron-nagel/
Also an interview and some “Fathoms” coverage from LiveFastMag here: http://livefastmag.com/2014/05/interview-series-aaron-nagel-nsfw/
A big thank you to Platinum Cheese and Live Fast Mag!
My second New York solo show, “Fathoms” will be opening Friday, May 9th at Lyons Wier Gallery. 7 brand new pieces that I’ve been working on all hours since December — if you are in the area, please come by and say hello!
Press Release from Lyons Wier Gallery:
I’ll be doing another very limited release w/ 1xRUN this Thursday, August 22. The proofs for this run look great, and are pretty big at 30″ x 18″. If this is release in anything like the last few w/ 1xRUN they will likely go quickly. Check out the release page along with a recent interview here.