Whenever the human body appears, in life or art, clothed or unclothed, there is an erotic potential. In art, whenever the erotic goes beyond potential to become itself the subject one may cross the line between art and pornography.
In art, the nude body is neutral. Sexual differentiation is a fact.
Unless the artist has gone intentionally past the line, whatever happens beyond the artist’s intent lies in the eye, or rather the mind, of the beholder.
For myself, the subjects of the nudes are the particular individuals, male and female, which I have painted. They have 3-dimensional form, in the painting as in life; they are capable of movement and in their postures express the connection between their inner self and its physical manifestation.
In the “Art of Painting: Reflections on Edwin Dickinson and Representation” (unpublished) I have written, “A great photographer of the nude such as Robert Mapplethorpe in his straightforward studies has understood light on form and the way the parts of the body move into each other in a dynamic relationship better than most painters, present or past...” I am interested in these nudes, not his homoerotic images or for that matter, his still lifes.
Francis Cunningham 8/6/09 (UPDATED 8/10/09)