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Preview: Phil Bower, “Nudes” ~ Opens May 31

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LA-based Phil Bower finds "creep shot" videos from voyeur websites, and paints portraits of the subjects caught unaware by a lurking camera. The subjects, both men and women, never know they've been filmed, or painted. As the quality of the video is often quite low, the final artwork also retains a sort of low resolution photorealism. From the press release "by painting his subjects without irony, in full embrace of the contexts and glories of nude figures in art history, the artist subverts the exploitation of the nudists and returns the subject matter to a higher plane." His solo show, "Nudes", opens on May 31 at Samuel Freeman Gallery (2639 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles).

Keep reading for preview images and a more detailed description of the work.

Los Angeles based artist Phil Bower’s first solo show with Samuel Freeman presents the continuation of a series of paintings based strictly on candid photographs of nudists. His paintings depict real people in real landscapes, not staged presentations. In truth these nudists are captured in a rare moment for a human being… engaged in a utopian lifestyle, au naturel in a Garden of Eden, without any judgement or hang-ups. They are unaware of the opportunists lurking behind bushes and on cliff tops, or lazing beside them with cameras secreted away under a towel or blanket. It is through this voyeurism and perversion that Bower receives his source material, but by painting his subjects without irony, in full embrace of the contexts and glories of nude figures in art history, the artist subverts the exploitation of the nudists and returns the subject matter to a higher plane… hopefully equal in spirit to the figures depicted.

Images are culled from websites that broadcast voyeur videos from Europe, Asia, Africa and the USA of nudists caught lounging and frolicking on expansive beaches, or sneaking into nearby forests for intimate encounters. The artist produces a digital photograph from a screen grab of a purchased video to serve as a “model” for the paintings. The source videos are often poor in quality, shot in a guerrilla style from vantages behind foliage or from odd angles. This is to Bower’s advantage as he makes use of the nebulous, low-resolution blurs and pixilation; translating the information into highly realized works of art that carve out territory in contemporary painting by uniquely blending photorealistic techniques with an intuitive and exploratory palette that is rife with startling glazes and metallic colors.

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More info here.

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