The best art strives to make visible the invisible, and the body painter Johannes Stoetter takes his work literally, seemingly turning his subjects inside out to reveal internal anatomy; with his vivid colors, he traces anatomical parts that linger below the surface of the skin, visually peeling away layers of his models’ body.
With each work, he digs deeper below the surface, moving from sinewy muscles to organs, and ultimately into the psyche of his subjects. He begins by staying relatively true to human anatomy, depicting detailed tendons and muscles in eye-popping red, yet throughout the series, the artist’s allegiance to science softens, allowing him to paint with more unrealistic, emotionally evocative hues.
Without discernible facial features, his models rely solely upon the apparent tensions of the biceps or the illusion of blood flow to express their identities, opening the door for Stoetter to experiment with non-literal anatomies. The placid woman is painted with the natural world associated iconographically and art historically with her sex, while a male model is shown as having a geometrical machine beneath his flesh.
Each landscape nurtures the perception of the body and heightens its beauty, and the painted bodies cease to be individual and come to represent the coherent, unchanging nature of humankind; in each of us, there ticks the same robot heart, flows the same river of blood. Though nude, the models are desexualized by the obscuring of their flesh, and we are invited to marvel at the organic majesty of anatomy, both physical and emotional. Take a look at Anatomy and more of Stoetter’s astounding work below. (via Lost at E Minor)
Deborah Simon sculpts anatomically correct bears out of polymer clay, faux fur, linen, embroidery floss, acrylic paint, glass, wire and foam. Aside from their size (around 22″ high), Simon’s bears are realistically detailed and meticulously fabricated. Her inside-out bears tread the boundaries of taxidermy, toy, and sculpture.
“Evolution has always held a particular fascination for me, informing how I create and group the animals in my work. As I’ve read and dug through museum collections to research my pieces, western science’s mania for labeling, codifying and collecting has stood out. Most of this categorizing bears little resemblance to how animals and plants exist out in the natural world and I find this disconnect fascinating.” (via design boom)
At RMIT University in Melbourne, Australia, lecturer Claudia Diaz has implemented an unconventional project in order to inspire her anatomy students. After teaching human anatomy for over 20 years, Diaz decided to try something new as she found the regular routine of anatomical memorization boring and uninspired. Over the past 3 years, Diaz has explored human anatomy with her students by having them paint the bodies of 10 students, revealing tendons and bones that would be visible if the person’s skin were stripped. Featured in these photographs is chiropractic student Zac O’Brien who patiently sat for around 18 hours while fellow students painted him. The finished result is what Diaz likes to call “anatomical man,” first brought to one of her classes in 2010.
”We walked him in and I still remember the looks on the kids’ faces. They were just in awe,” she said. ”I realised it shocked them, it inspired them and it motivated them.” Previously shy about taking off their clothes so classmates could study their bodies, the students began to shed their inhibitions through this painting exercise. ”I couldn’t get the kids to keep their clothes on. They were all throwing them off,” Dr Diaz said. (via)
The highly detailed paintings of Valerio Carrubba offer an unexpected combination of styles that strangely complement each other. His scenery and figures seem to emerge from a Renaissance and Baroque tradition. Mysterious hands pull and cut at the flesh revealing each subject’s inner anatomy in a nearly cold way very similar to modern anatomy atlases. The scene as a whole, however, bears the definite influence of surrealism. Carrubba works these various styles and aesthetic sensibilities as skillfully as the oil paint. The boundaries are seamless and carefully worked.
Danny Quirk creates elaborate and accurate anatomical paintings using the human body as a canvas or the subject of canvas paintings. After the frustration of facing rejections from multiple medical schools, Quirk decided to combine three things he loves – anatomy, art, and education – using this very direct approach. He seeks to change the creepy or morbid perception of the body’s anatomy by revealing its delicate beauty. ”Having spent time working with cadavers and creating illustrations for medical publications, I got to experience first hand just how complex yet delicate the body is, wonderfully illustrating beauty is more than skin deep.”
The work of Koen Hauser floats somewhere between fine art and fashion photography. His series Modische Atlas der Anatomie illustrates this well. The series’ title is a kind play on words – literally it translates as “Fashionable Anatomy Atlas”, yet with a single vowel change it can be translated as “Medical Anatomy Atlas”. In the series, his subject seem to be modeling her organs as much as her clothes. Portions of the model’s body are cut away to reveal her inner workings. However, rather than depict the organs true to life, Hauser referenced traditional anatomy atlas’ – artistic medical reference works.
Danish artist Troels Carlsen warps classic anatomical illustrations of natural organisms to produce mixed media works on paper. I can’t tell if the drawings that Carlsen’s manipulating are originally produced by the artist or not (maybe a mixture of the two), but the images stand up well enough even without such information. On a purely visual level, the contrast between the illustrative anatomical drawings and Carlsen’s slightly humorous injections works really nicely. But these drawings hold conceptual tones as well. Thick commentary on the body and mind is laid out cleanly for all to see. (via)
Self-described daughter of an eccentric mechanical engineer and a stiff-upper-lipped British nurse, Canadian artist Bonni Reid specializes in exploring the spaces between worlds through her works. The Vancouver-based painter mixes together dapper gents and lovely ladies of old with exposed – and sometimes floral – anatomy, surreal landscapes, and a bit of humor at times. Her well-crafted curiosities have been shown in Los Angeles’ La Luz De Jesus Gallery, Roq La Rue Gallery in Seattle, and several spaces in Canada, among others. Take a closer look at her work after the jump.