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The Art of Venus


Hello, Scott here – the visual artist on ‘The Venus Papers’. I painted the images on the flyer and promo film and have also produced a special piece for the actual show. As the central conceit of ‘The Venus Papers’ is Botticelli’s infamous, ‘Birth of Venus’ – one of the most notorious nudes in history, I thought it might be worth sharing some of my thoughts, as a painter of figures.

I’ve been painting nudes for many years now; studying at Chelsea, then practising in Rome for 8 years, before returning to the UK.

For me the nude is a motif, not a personality. A figure without a narrative, in so far as the paintings have always been about paint and the act of painting. I could arguably ‘use’ any number of subjects to express this, like trees or abstraction, but for me, the human body is the ideal.

Not only is the body a wonderful vehicle of light but is simultaneously a hugely suggestive metaphor; the naked body, vulnerable and alone; the human condition…

The ‘Angel’ painting (which features in the show and which you’ll see if you make it down tomorrow!) grew out of itself. I hadn’t intended to paint an Angel, it just seemed to be the right thing to do.

When the painting is seen set against Lydia’s poem in ‘The Venus Papers’ it imbues the piece with significance that I could never have envisaged…The figure-Angel is given a greater history, and subsequently a presence beyond my control…

As with any painting, once finished, the piece must stand alone. My intentions or interpretations become meaningless.

The painting becomes that which the viewer sees, in this case the narrative is provided by Venus.

Come see the show – you’ll really love it!

Scott Bridgwood

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