Straight Outta the Gutter: Four Nudes in a Series

2015-11-22 14.03.13

Editorial note: This is the first in a series where I review art that has been thrown out as garbage.

With a name like Gutter Curator, you would think this is an idea I had from the beginning. Nope. Brand new idea. When people throw art out, it’s usually pretty atrocious and that’s what I thought I would end up reviewing. However, I hit the trash bin jackpot when I pulled these four stellar nudes out of the gutter.

The construction of these pieces is interesting. The images are painted on artist board, and then glued to wood panels. There is a small amount of damage to the pieces. With one of the pieces, the artist board is completely separated from the wooden frame. All the paintings have wear around the edges. It looks like the edges of my baseball cards when I was eight years old. The biggest issue is that a lot of mold has started growing on the wood. The paintings themselves are not affected by the mold. The works are all 16 inches high and 24 inches wide (except the vertical hanging piece; it’s 22″ x 16″).

Three of the works are unsigned, but the fourth is labeled with the information you hope to find about a painting.

Artist: Ignacio Abru
Title: Cosas de Niños / Things for Children
Technique: Oil
Date: April 2006



Of the four, this one is my favorite. The background is split straight down the middle. The figure stands almost completely in the furthest right third of the image. The left side has rich texture and color like fertile soil. In the figure, the curls of the hair are done nicely. I also enjoy the stylized shadow along her arm. The hands are 50/50 for me. The backside of the palm is rendered well, however, I don’t care for the elongation of the fingers. The model has pulled her shoulders into her body, and the artist has squished her skeleton a tiny bit more.



Like the first piece, I enjoy that the artist has created a well-developed background here. Of the series, this piece pushes closest to abstraction. The breasts are thing that bring you into this piece as a figural work. Without the bottom half of this painting, the image balances on the line between abstract form and representational work.



I am very close to really liking this piece, but there’s something holding me back. Artists have a tool bag of tricks they use to control where your eyes go when you look at a painting. The brightest spot on the canvas attracts your eye. The areas with most detail and the directions of the major lines in the image direct your gaze. According to these clues, my eyes keep ended up on the bottom of the breast.



In this series, the artist makes a choice to exaggerate the size of the hands. It’s most evident in this final piece. The face and head is scaled down a tiny bit.  There is a strange play of light that completely obscures the center of the model’s chest. I don’t think there’s any meaning behind it (she’s totally heartless!). 

Overall, I dig these paintings. The color palette relays a warmness throughout the series. If the artist does abstract paintings, I want to see. As a series of related paintings, this is a nice collection. I have a hunch these were a project from art school. Why were they thrown out? Maybe the mold. Maybe cleaning out the garage. Whatever the reason, I’m glad they’re not bound for the landfill.

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