You never know what to expect the first time you attend a new event in a new city. So Friday night when I left my hotel and headed over to the Lexington Art League’s(LAL) opening night for their 25th anniversary “Nude 2011” show, I tried to temper my expectations. I had read that is was one of North Americas largest nude art shows, but I wondered just how much support for nude fine art could exist in Lexington, Kentucky. So when I starting diving next to a beautiful park and first laid my eyes on the Loudon House, LAL’s home, I had to check the address a third time.
The Loudon House is an amazing historic building. And then I tried looking for a parking spot only to find everything full and was forced to create a space on the snow covered lawn. I walked into a beautiful gallery full of people listening to live music while enjoying good food and cocktails.
And the Art? It was very impressive. Fifty pieces ranging from photography to sculpture including paintings, video, 3d mixed media, and drawings. Each unique in style and approach to the nude. I could not wait to ask Becky Alley, LAL’s Exhibitions and Programs Director, why they chose this theme.
“I think the nude or the body is relevant to contemporary artists because we all have one,” explained Alley. “Whenever you’re making art you’re hoping it’s communicating something to an audience. It’s a language. (And with this language) you can start talking about the human experience by using the body as imagery or form.”
Nude 2011’s jurors are from the same region yet have different backgrounds. “It was good to have people from the same area so they could get together face to face and talk, which they did a couple of times,” says Alley. “I like the idea of having either jurors or artists in different mediums so they bring kind of different perspectives. Or having a visual artist and a curator.” Karen Gillenwater is Curator at the Carnegie Center for Art & History in New Albany, Indiana where she plans art exhibitions and programs. She was formerly Director of Art Galleries and Curator of Collections at Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky and Curatorial Administrative Coordinator at the Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. Mark Priest has a BA in painting from the University of Louisville and an MFA in painting from Yale University. He is currently an associate professor of painting and drawing at the University of Louisville.
My primary reason for attending Nude 2011 was because my photograph “Neophlyte” was selected as part of the show. While there I met many of the patrons and artists. Experienced some exceptional art and Lexington’s culture. This will not be the last time I attend. I highly recommend that if you are in the Lexington area during the show’s two month run that you head over to the Lexington Art League’s Loudon House and experience it for yourself.