Es un pintor con estilo muy realista, que muestra el desnudo y la sexualidad humana de forma provocativa, exagerando los gestos con una temática social. Admirador de los grandes maestros del arte, es conocido por expresar en su pintura figurativa la femineidad de forma satírica, provocando en cada creación una técnica pura pero muy hábil.
Gran estudioso del color, la composición y la técnica de los pintores renacentistas y los franceses en el siglo XIX, conoce el trasfondo de los diversos movimientos artísticos y los emplea a conciencia en sus obras.
Maneja un interesante diálogo entre la cultura moderna y la alta cultura, posturas que marcan su esencia creativa, mezclando la pintura con revistas de corte popular y modelos, distorsionando el cuerpo de la mujer. Son obras burguesas, que buscan enfrentar la ironía con la emotividad de los ochenta. En los retratos femeninos se observa la influencia de Cranach y del manierismo italiano.
Se habla de Currin como un ilustrador con una mirada masculina de mal gusto, pero lo cierto es que la controversia y las especulaciones sobre su creatividad, no dejan indiferente a nadie, tampoco limitan su pintura a un mero aspecto sexual. Su pincel es provocativo, pero combina perfectamente lo cursi con lo artístico con gran genialidad. En su pintura aplica la tradición y lo contemporáneo, mostrando la fealdad, proporciones grotescas, renunciando a su crítica social con una mezcla de sensualidad y vulgaridad cotidiana.
John Currin has been called a ‘virtuoso’ in the classical meaning of the term. His paintings could travel back to the Renaissance and still, they would make perfect sense. Playing with the European medium of oil-painting, he is a figurative painter and his art seems very representational, showing the real, yet forgotten world. Linked to mannerism, neo-classicism and American conceptualism, Currin cannot be ascribed to any particular genre, infusing his art with some sort of timeless allure. Following his artistic evolution, which is now aimed to ‘reveal more of himself’, here are the five facts about the artist.
He picked up painting from a Soviet artist.
Studying violin as a kid, Currin’s music teacher had an artist husband. Coming from the Soviet Union, he spoke no English, but Currin and him bonded and started to meet for painting sessions every weekend. Working on traditional still lifes, the studio lessons resulted in Currin’s awareness of the existing art world out there. Beffited for his creative mind.
He turns pornography into beauty.
”One motive of mine is to see if I could make this clearly debased and unbeautiful thing become beautiful in a painting,” Currin once said. What’s absent in an explicit photograph will not escape his attention. Every detail is perfected with oil paints, diminishing our contempt for human sexual instincts. It’s all about reflecting the natural and beautiful, detached from crudity.
His wife is his greatest muse.
Rachel Feinstein, an American sculptor, met Currin during her exhibition ‘Let the Artist Live’ at the Manhattan’s art gallery in 1994. They fell madly in love and since then, Currin has been reflecting upon Feinstein’s outer and inner beauty, as the flesh or face become the embodiment of purity, self-consciousness and an ethereal ideal . Although he refused the ‘muse’ term, he explained to the Guardian: ” (…) when I met Rachel I felt that I could connect with some principles that moved my art along, that I had some freedom from the petty things in my own personality.’
‘The people I paint don’t exist.’
Currin’s art rarely depicts a real character. It may be his wife or a model, their inner charisma that inspires the picture, but this is some sort of a different universe where the artist puts them to exist. Critics described his works as a bridge between observation and fantasy, and over the years, Currin continued to create completely new universes and its creatures.
His paintings are quest for masculinity.
Filled with the ‘ambisexual’ atmosphere, Currin tries to maintain the reverse logic of his work. ‘’It’s that the pictures of men are about men and the pictures of women are about me,” he said, elaborating on the idea of mystique. Refusing any gender roles, he infusese every portrait with sensitivity that seems to come from a feminine mind, but filtered through man’s psyche, gives a new dimension to Currin’s art.