Figurative art, it says here, is currently riding high in the zeitgeist. Well, pardon me while I stroke my beard (I do have a beard, but fear not, it’s not a Hoxton Horror). The subtitle to this is “The new state of the art” and the book apparently features “a fresh and exciting selection of artists”. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
It’s perhaps unfair to have this much fun with a book that has a serious intent and is well-intentioned. For all my shoving it into Pseud’s Corner, there are going to be plenty of people who will welcome a comprehensive and authoritative survey of current work in figurative art. If you were looking for the conventional portrait, though, this is probably not the place to find it. The cover image provides a good indication of what’s to come. Unconventional and not a little humorous, it points to a book that is not afraid to stray from the beaten track.
Charlotte Mullins sets herself a task: to find out why so many artists globally are at the moment choosing to work with the human figure. Answering that takes her on a worldwide trip that covers just about every medium and style and includes both Grayson Perry’s tapestries and Cindy Sherman’s photographs as well as many styles of painting and drawing. The images are intriguing, challenging and disturbing but they are also, above all, arresting. This is a book which, if you pick it up, you won’t be putting down for some time.
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