Figures of Expression and Transgression




A seminar exploring contemporary artists’ representation of the naked body and the role of drawing in this, Schiele’s legacy in relation to art and the pornographic image, myth and the figure in the work of Leon Golub and Nancy Spero.

The afternoon will include contributions from David Austen (artist and co-curator of The Nakeds), Jon Bird (Professor of Art & Critical theory, Middlesex University), Gemma Blackshaw ( Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Plymouth and co-curator of The Nakeds), Mary Doyle ( co-director of Drawing Room and co-curator of The Nakeds), Simon Grant (writer, editor of TATE ETC. magazine and co-editor of Picpus magazine), Stewart Helm (artist) , Chantal Joffe (artist) and Kate Macfarlane ( co-director of Drawing Room and co-curator of The Nakeds).

Presentations will include:

– Myth and the Figure in the Work of Leon Golub and Nancy Spero – a talk by Professor Jon Bird (Art & Critical theory, Middlesex University).

– Artists in Conversation – Chantal Joffe and Stewart Helm in conversation with Mary Doyle about their approaches to representing nakedness. Joffe adopts skewed angles and dynamic cropping to create penetrating images of people. An admirer of Schiele, especially for the manner in which he “becomes the pencil”, she has also sought to find a “way out from under the weight of the great male artist”. Stewart Helm creates seas of male figures from his imagination as a means to unburden himself of obsessions and demons. He also draws from observation – the transvestites in Palermo Park in Buenos Aires bring to life the figments of his imagination.

– Good Timing – A conversation between David Austen and Gemma Blackshaw chaired by Simon Grant, exploring issues that informed the curation of The Nakeds. In particular Austen’s interest in the poetic relationship between the artists’ work, the idea of nakedness, the figure alone in the void, desire and shame; and Blackshaw’s investigation into how contemporary women artists interrogate modernist concepts of nakedness, gender and sexuality.

Email [email protected] for discounted group bookings of 10 or more

David Austen (b.1960, Harlow, Essex) is a London based artist.  He studied at Maidstone College from 1978-81 and the Royal College of Art from 1982-85. Austen was awarded the Stanley Picker Fellowship at Kingston University in 2008-09. Recent solo exhibitions include The Gorgon’s Dream, The Burns Monument, with Ingleby Gallery and the Edinburgh International Film Festival, Edinburgh and at Rob Tufnell, London (2012), Papillon, Anthony Reynolds Gallery, London (2011), Smoke Town and End of Love, Modern Art Gallery Oxford, Oxford(2010), Man Smoking, Schiavo Mazzonis Gallery, Rome (2009), My love, I have been digging up my own bones in the garden again, Ingleby Gallery, Edinburgh (2009), The end of love, Stanley Picker Gallery, Kingston University, Kingston-Upon-Thames (2009). Austen participated to Language Games. An Introduction to The Art of Our Times, Fundación Helga de Alvear, Cáceres, Spain (2012), Artists for Kettle’s Yard, Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge (2011), Watercolour, Tate Britain, London (2011) amongst others.

Jon Bird is Professor of Art and Critical Theory, Middlesex University, London.  He is the co-author of ‘Nancy Spero’ (1996) and co-editor, with Michael Newman, of  ‘Rewriting Conceptual Art’ (2000) and author of ‘ Otherworlds: The Art of Nancy Spero and Kiki Smith’ (2003) and of  ‘Leon Golub: Echoes of the Real’ (2010). He has curated two Leon Golub retrospective exhibitions,  the first,  at Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin,  touring to South London Gallery, London,  and Albright-Knox  Art Gallery, Buffalo (2000-01) and the second at Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid (2011). He curated a solo exhibition of  Nancy Spero  at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London  (1987).  

Gemma Blackshaw is Associate Professor of Art History at the University of Plymouth. Specialising in Austrian art of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, she curated Facing the Modern: The Portrait in Vienna 1900 (National Gallery London, 2013) and co-curated Madness & Modernity: Mental Illness and the Visual Arts in Vienna 1900 (Wellcome Collection, London; Wien Museum, Vienna, 2009-10). Widely published, her research has been supported by the AHRC, the British Academy, the Leverhulme Trust and the Wellcome Trust.

Stewart Helm (b. 1960 Hertfordshire, UK) lives and works in London and Buenos Aires. He studied at Maideston College of Art and at the Royal College of Art in London. Selected solo exhibitons include: TEW Galleries, Atlanta, GA (2014,1992-2008); Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Atlanta (2004); Honduras Gallery, London (2001); John Hansard Gallery, Southhampton (1998); The Approach, London (1997) Todd Gallery,London (1995); Carlile Gallery, London (1986); and Contemporary Arts Festival, Canterbury (1984). Selected group exhibitons include: Natural Selection, The Fine Art Society (2013); Jibby Beane, London (2004); Under Different Circumstances, The Contemporary Atlanta Art Center (2004); Gallery Artist, Timothy Tew, Atlanta (2000); and Sacred, Timothy Tew, Atlanta (1998). Helm has been commissioned or works by many organizations, including: Jigsaw Department Store, Glasgow and London; the Wellcome Foundation, London; Taxim Nightpark, Istanbul; Hotel Maritime, Otaru, Japan; and L’Arc a di Noe restaurant, Sapporo, Japan.

Chantal Joffe (b. 1969 St Albans, VT) lives and works in London. She studied at the Glasgow School of Art and at the Royal College of Art. In 2006, she received the prestigious Charles Wollaston Award from the Royal Academy. Selected solo exhibitions include: The Jewish Museum, New York (2015); Collezione Maramotti, Reggio Emilia, Italy (2014); Galerie Forsblom, Helsinki, Finland (2013); Cheim & Read, New York (2012); Victoria Miro Gallery, London (2011); Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York (2009); Victoria Miro Gallery, London (2008); University of the Arts, London (2007); Galeria Monica de Cardenas, Zuoz, Switzerland (2007); MIMA Middlesbrough Institute of Modern Art (2007); Galeria Monica de Cardenas, Milan (2005); Royal Academy of Arts, London (2005); Galleri KB, Oslo (2005); and Bloomberg Space, London (2004). Selected group exhibitions include: The Nakeds, Drawing Room, London (2014); Nightfall, New Tendencies in Figurative Painting, Galerie Rudolfinum, Prague (2013); To Have a Voice, Mackintosh Museum, Glasgow (2012); Nothing in the World But Youth, Turner Contemporary, Margate (2011);British Subjects: Identity and Self- Fashioning 1967 – 2009 Neuberger Museum of Art, Purchase, New York (2009); The Female Gaze: Women Look at Women, Cheim & Read, New York (2009); and Her House, Her House Gallery, London (2008). Joffe is represented by Victoria Miro Gallery, London.