Flesh & Bones: Permutations Of The Human Form
Various artists - Permanent Collection
The human body constitutes an enduring image in the history of the visual arts, appearing as a simple stick figure at the beginning of civilization and evolving into a diversity of forms and styles throughout the ages and many cultures of the world. The aesthetics of the body’s formal harmonies have inspired numerous visual artists, some of whom have considered it the ideal of beauty. Others have found it the quintessential subject for documenting, expressing, or interpreting the human condition. It is possible to interpret such extensive focus on the human form as a symptom of anthropocentrism, the belief that human beings are the central or most important species on the planet.
More than a physical substance of living cells or biological reality, the human body is a culturally charged and historically situated construct, springing directly from the patterns, customs, and beliefs of society, and so carrying profound social, political, and symbolic meanings. Mechanisms of power have superimposed on it both ideals and taboos, reinforcing both acts of veneration and of suppression, as the human form has long been a turbulent site of cultural, political, sexual, spiritual, and scientific conflict. In an age of ever-expanding technologies, traditional values and views on the limitations of the human body are challenged by new advancements in plastic surgery, cyborg science, and virtual reality.
Drawn from the permanent collection of the Beaverbrook Art Gallery, this exhibition presents a variety of individualistic approaches to the representation of the human form in modern and contemporary art.
Curator: Terry Graff
Organized by the Beaverbrook Art Gallery with the support of the Canada Council for the Arts, the City of Fredericton, and the Province of New Brunswick.