Fig­u­ra­tive art forges ahead

Body is­sues De­pict­ing the hu­man form is a sta­ple artis­tic en­deav­our, but is the rep­re­sen­ta­tional ap­proach still rel­e­vant? A new ex­hi­bi­tion seeks to find out…

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New York is the lo­ca­tion of ARC Se­lect 2017: Con­tem­po­rary Fig­ures, an ex­hi­bi­tion that brings to­gether spe­cially cre­ated work by some of the most ex­cit­ing artists work­ing in fig­u­ra­tive art to­day.

ARC Se­lect 2017 is a col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween the Art Re­newal Cen­ter, which pro­motes re­al­ism in the arts, and Rehs Con­tem­po­rary Galleries. This year’s in­vited artists in­clude Vanessa Le­men, Marc Sch­eff, Emanuele Das­canio, Daniel Ger­hartz, Ser­gio Lopez and Tim Rees.

“Our stylis­tic ap­proaches to paint­ing or draw­ing the fig­ure might be var­ied, but the over­all theme will have the hu­man form as the sub­ject,” says Vanessa. “I re­ally look for­ward to see­ing the show in its en­tirety, to get a feel for the thread that weaves us all to­gether.”

For some of her pieces, she’s used oil on ma­sonite, while a cou­ple are mixed me­dia: oil and acrylic on book­pages or col­lage mounted on ma­sonite. “All be­gan with ab­stract marks on the sur­face, be­fore I painted into the marks to pull the im­age out,” she ex­plains.

Mean­while, Marc has been cre­at­ing work for the show us­ing resin and gold leaf, as well as pen­cil, acrylic and pas­tels. “There’s no over­all theme – they’re just a re­flec­tion of my own men­tal state about be­ing a par­ent, be­ing in this po­lit­i­cal mo­ment in time, and all the weird psy­cho­log­i­cal stuff artists deal with when they find new suc­cess,” he ex­plains.

The ex­hi­bi­tion runs from 28 Oc­to­ber to 17 Novem­ber at Rehs Con­tem­po­rary Galleries in New York (

“My work is fig­u­ra­tive with sur­real el­e­ments,” says Marc Sch­eff. Marc: “My hopes and fears as a 40-year-old man with two kids all come out in the can­vas.” Vanessa de­scribes her work as “ex­cerpts from my own per­sonal jour­ney, us­ing the fig­ure as an in­te­gral part of the story.”

The po­ten­tial for beauty in peo­ple is al­ways there; that’s what I’m try­ing to find,” says Marc.

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