No Nudes is Good Nudes Explores the Multiple Interpretations of the Human Form

June 21st, 2013  |  Published in June 2013

No Nudes is Good Nudes Explores the Multiple Interpretations of the Human Form

By Shawn Daniell

The human body consisting of veins, tissue, organs, and flesh has been a subject of inspiration for artists since humans began painting on cave walls. What is it about the human form that strikes us? The many reasons why artists create artwork centered on the human body vary from artist to artist. For me, the body is both something familiar (everyone has one) and at the same time, something unique and mysterious. Even with technology being as advanced as it is, we are discovering new things about our own bodies daily. Bodies are like foreign territories and artists serve as explorers, interpreting and investigating the unique lines, shapes, and textures of the human body. With the human body we can examine concepts such as the idea of beauty, the aging process, birth, death, spirituality, sexuality, sensuality, and much more. Art Beyond Boundaries’ newest exhibit No Nudes is Good Nudes offers a variety of interpretations about the human body.

Judging by the title of the show, No Nudes is Good Nudes, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. I wasn’t expecting to see as many nudes as I saw. But the more I thought about it, I ultimately understood that Art Beyond Boundaries was asking the audience to step beyond the notion of traditional nudes and body-based art and embrace a variety of possible interpretations. The human form was the inspiration for this show and you will find various mediums on display including: drawings, acrylic and oil paintings, water colors, mixed media, photography, ceramics and sculpture, and a fashion piece. Art Beyond Boundaries is an organization and professional art gallery focused on providing services and programs to create a vibrant art community in which people with disabilities can immerse themselves in all aspects of the arts community. I love the concept of promoting the arts for people of all abilities, because art should be for everyone.

I visited the exhibited on a late Thursday afternoon. I had the gallery all to myself, which for me is the best time to review a show; plenty of quiet time to let the art speak for itself. The first piece that struck me as soon as I stepped into the door was Kelvin Poore’s It All Makes Sense When You Add a Tramp. There were several aspects of Poore’s acrylic painting that struck my attention including the use of bright colors, the position of the nude figure, and the abstract nature of the background figures. The blonde figure lounges vertically while a crowd of people (one of them an Elvis Presely caricature) cluster horizontally behind her. She matter-of-factly looks at the viewer. There is a brazen quality to her stare, instilling in me a raunchy sense of sexy. And yet there is almost a chaste quality to her since her front side is hidden from the viewer. The blonde figure is a confident Tramp and the audience can sense that by the casualness of her pose.

Ann Segal’s photograph, Untitled, worked for me because of the playful, illusory nature of the image. At first glance I saw the bottom half of a woman’s torso with crotch and pubis present. The torso takes up almost all of the paper, insuring that we get a good look at it. Perhaps not for the sexually squeamish, but in my opinion a very beautiful and natural part of nature and life. On closer inspection, I noticed that it is merely a piece of wood (another symbol of life and nature?) that happens to resemble a female torso. It is this notion of duality that made me pause before Segal’s photograph. Turns out viewers don’t really need a title for this piece; I think the image speaks for itself.

Other pieces include Michael Todd’s abstract, art nouveau–infused mixed media portraits, the graceful beauty of Edward Hester’s mixed media piece, Untitled Nude, and the whimsical mixed media piece Stevie’s World by Steve Gall. These are only a small portion of the works on display showcasing the talents of over 40 artists. No Nudes is Good Nudes runs through July 15 at Art Beyond Boundaries in Over-the-Rhine. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday from 10am-5pm, and admission is free. For more information, you can visit their website at

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