October 2, 2012
London, England / Online

Adonis Art
Boys, Beds & Beaches
New Paintings by Andrew Potter


On-Line Gallery Will Be Available October 1

Preview on Tuesday, October 2nd between 6:00 and 8:00 PM

This is an excellent exhibition comprosing over 30 new paintings.

Andrew Potter explores the effects of light on the classically ideal male figure. Light that sculpts the body to provide dramatic form and veiled narrative.

Hi subjects are caught unawares and unobserved in private moments. The individual identity of each often remains ambiguous in either the way the models are posed or by the fall of light and shadow on their bodies. This enhances the voyeuristic feel and latent sense of eroticism.

However, warm tonality and soft-edged style add romanticism to his work. Thus it becomes an exchange of confidences between the artist and viewer of a private and intimate moment.

Interview – Andrew Potter Interview – January 2008

An exhibition of your work is taking place at Adonis Art London. What can we expect?

A set of approximately 30 new paintings based on the male form. The majority are traditional figurative works informed by the classical Western tradition but there are a few experimental pieces where I have overlaid a classical technique and subject matter with effects such as solarisation normally associated with photography. I’ll also include some paintings that have a stronger graphic edge to them presenting a more modern feel.

Your work has been described as exploring the effects of light on classically ideal male figures. How would you describe your style?

My style is probably something of a mix between the drama of Italian Baroque and more meticulous technique of the later Victorians. I take the light from one and the colour from the other. I always start out trying to be painterly in my technique but often edge towards a photo real style.

Your figures are almost sculptural in their muscle definition. Were you inspired by classical sculpture?

Most definitely, yes. Sculpture is also something I’d like to try myself one day.

Obviously light is very important to your work, what is it about the way light defines a body that inspires you?

A strong directional light can be used to add a sense of drama to an otherwise quiet and simple composition by outlining form and revealing intense colour. This is what inspires me in the creative use of light

Your subjects are often caught unawares and unobserved in private moments. Is the voyeuristic feel important?

Definitely a sense of voyeurism is important adding to the overall eroticism of a painting. However, the unobserved moment as a subject is a good way to introduce a narrative into a painting allowing the viewer to come back to it time and time again overlaying their imagination of what is happening onto my painting. The painting can change with the mood of the viewer and get interpreted differently by anyone who cares to look at it. In this way it remains alive.

The paintings are undoubtedly erotic but they also have a soft edged style that adds romanticism. What’s so appealing about this contradiction?

I don’t think that these two elements of my paintings do contradict one another. The appeal is in how they compliment each other. I am a romantic at heart and that informs my sense of eroticism.

The Adonis is evident in your work, but is this the type of man you go for in real life?

I “married” my Adonis and he is certainly a great source of inspiration. The classically shaped physique works best for my style of painting. The ideal sculptured quality of the male body makes even crops and details arresting in a simple abstract form. However my taste in men is more varied and complex than my paintings suggest.

So, how do you find your models?

Finding good models is always difficult for me. Mostly it has been friends or life models from open drawing classes. I have a wealth of photographs and old life drawings as a resource I call upon. I’m always on the lookout for an interesting and willing subject though. I’m not somebody that finds it easy to ask someone that I find interesting if they’d be prepared to pose.

What is it about the naked male body rather than a clothed one that you find so attractive to paint?

The university I chose to study both my Bachelors and Masters degrees had an art school that promoted a traditional academic approach to art, one employed to great effect in Victorian Art Schools, providing students with a thorough technical training based on drawing. Drawing the naked human figure is amongst the most difficult things an artist can do providing an infinite number of challenging forms. Life class became a dominant part of my day-to-day existence until finally I was asked to teach it as a Post Graduate student. I’ve been hooked ever since, maintaining a great love of drawing the naked form.

Having said that I should point out that my range of work extends much further than the naked male body. I find many subjects attractive to paint and bring to those paintings the same sensitivities that I bring to the male form. Portraiture is my favourite form of painting, which will usually, although not always, involve the clothed figure. I also have a great love of painting still lifes one of which was accepted into this year’s Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.

So, how does your own sexuality influence your work?

I suppose on a most basic level I like to paint things I find beautiful. It could be a wonderful piece of white porcelain or a simple arrangement of ripe apples but I’m most often drawn towards the male form, which is the obvious influence of my sexuality.

Okay, so where do you stand on the whole ‘gay art’ label. Is it a necessary genre of art or redundant ghettoising of painting in general?

I think to label something as “gay art” is too limiting and is more about cultural politics than the art itself. What does the label actually mean? Does Hockney’s Grand Canyon landscapes qualify as “gay art” because the artist is gay? Does a male nude by Rubens qualify as gay art because I, as a gay man, find it erotically charged. Does Courbet’s “Sleep” of 1866 become gay art because it appears to depict a lesbian embrace despite the artist being heterosexual? I have been commissioned by women to paint male nudes and several women have bought my paintings from the Adonis gallery. I’m sure they don’t think that they are buying gay art. I don’t want to be defined by my sexuality. Life is not that simple.

What’s the biggest cliché about gay art?

That you can tell an artist’s sexuality because of what they paint and how they paint it. I think we impose our own sexuality upon the art we are looking at.

You've been creating pictures for quite a while now. How has gay art changed during this time?

I don’t know and I’m not even sure that it has, assuming you accept in the first place that “gay art” even exists. The Adonis Gallery has certainly made it more accessible but where are all the mainstream exhibitions of contemporary male art? A few years ago the Tate dedicated a very large exhibition to The Victorian Nude and only managed to include about 3 male nudes in it.

And finally, what are your plans for the future?

To carry on painting works that people want to hang on their wall at home. My plans rarely extend much further than the next commission; it’s that sort of business in a way. I always have a part of my brain locked into the next big open show organised by institutions such as the Royal Academy preparing work that might be selected and shown.

Adonis Art
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AM - 5:45 PM
Saturday 10:30
AM - 5:00 PM
1b Coleherne Road, London SW10 9BS UK
Phone (International): +44 20 7460 0238
Phone (from UK): 020 7460 0238

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“The abstract, especially in those rough sketches, is very important to me, perhaps because of my advertising background, where layout is so important. Sometimes those first few lines cut the paper into such satisfying shapes that I don’t want to go on, but I always do, adding nostrils and nipples and bootstraps until I have filled the paper up as usual.” — Tom of Finland