Valentines Collection: Sensuality
“The spiritualisation of sensuality is called love” claimed famed philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche in 1889, and our Valentine’s Day selection looks at just that.
Touch, intimacy, and affection are rarely as publicly encouraged as around February 14th: Lingerie sales boom, we indulge with flowers and chocolate, and we demonstrate our love to our nearest and dearest. Sensuality, additionally, is hugely important in visual art. We as viewers want pieces that entice us, and perhaps even directly mimic our lived experiences of the senses. In preparation for Valentines day I have curated a selection of our artists’ most sensual works, reminding us to appreciate our faculties of vision and touch as well as celebrating our loved ones.
This collection deals with the theme of “sensuality” in various ways. Some works tackle the theme figuratively, showing embraced couples, or individuals giving themselves up to sensual pleasures. Victoria Topping’s digital print nude 'Aphrodite' presents to us a reimagining of the Greek Goddess of love in the form of a stylised, voluptuous diva reminiscent of the contemporary music industry’s leading self-love gurus (think Lizzo). Aphrodite’s curves are highlighted with decorative strokes and bold line-work, giving the piece a real touchable appeal, (a “music for the eyes” which is Topping’s goal). Heavily influenced by the glamour of Disco, Jazz, and Gospel styling, Topping’s portfolio oozes with sensual charm.
Other works incorporate a literal tactility. The paintings of Schweinsberg, Nrshinga, and Maltman use thick, impasto strokes which reveal the hand of the artist and engage the viewer’s senses. Williams and Page have created sculptures that we want to reach out and touch (or kiss). “L O V E” peers out from Dangerous Minds Artists’ thick layers of plaster and pink spray paint in 'LOVE - PINK’'s recreation of that “gooey feeling”. One of my favourite works in this year's Valentines Day Collection, 'MAN AND WOMAN, TOGETHER AND FOREVER NO.05' by Slavomir Zombek joins two paper cutouts reminiscent of cells mid-mitosis with three crosses made from office staples. These perceptible raised surfaces and changes in material are highly sensual and the title encourages us to consider the bonds of romantic coupling. Zombek’s work regularly play with the metaphorical connotations of shapes overlapping and the power of geometry.
So take a look through the collection, spoil your senses, and maybe even treat someone you love (yourself included) to a new artwork this Valentine’s Day…