Jonathan Yeo is British artist that makes, among other things, fantastic paintings dealing with plastic surgery. Just a caveat for those of you in mixed company, many of the paintings involve waist-up nudity. Lots of breasts, but no gore.
Hi-Fructose wrote about Yeo recently (well, today) and I was absolutely floored (in a good way) by these exquisite surfaces – and poignant subject matter. I love how he paints skin, and how the paintings remain unfinished, reminding us constantly that these faces and bodies are really just images, perhaps meant to remind us of the transience of our own self-images. Maybe he’s addressing the superficiality of beauty culture, maybe it’s meant as a more Buddhist “live in the now” statement. Maybe it’s an update to the momento mori tradition in Renaissance art. Either way, I love these paintings oh so very much.
…Western culture is obsessed with normalizing the body to fit into a mold deemed more attractive or more “correct.” British artist Jonathan Yeo uses his talent for photorealistic portraiture to explore the way that people subject themselves to plastic surgery in an effort to chase eternal youth and beauty. …the works are at once peaceful and grotesque.
- Hi-Fructose Magazine
When old age shall this generation waste,
Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou sayst,
“Beauty is truth, truth beauty,” – that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.
- Keats, from “Ode on a Grecian Urn”
Keats said “Beauty is truth, truth beauty”… but what of chasing after elusive standards of beauty? Awesome work. More of Yeo’s work can be seen on his website.