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Is Jenny Saville any good?

Jenny Saville is a British artist who paints chunky, bruised looking nudes in a manner reminiscent of Lucien Freud, or so say many people:


She sometimes uses colour harmonies, and the visceral potential of oil paint, to make images that seem to play with suggestions of violence:


Jonathan Jones, art critic for The Guardian newspaper in the UK, wrote something on his blog last week asking a form of the question that I asked above - what to make of Saville's work? It sparked an interesting discussion on Alan Sundberg's G+ and Facebook page amongst different artists (link here).

Most people in the discussion so far come down on Saville's side. I'm on the contra side, mainly because I think she uses her great skill in the service of quick effects. As I write this, I think that traces her line of descent not only from Freud, but also from Euan Uglow, another twentieth century British painter:


In each case, both Freud and Uglow have much more patience with their subject matter than Saville has. Yet I accept that there are people who love her, and would completely disagree with my response. Like all value judgements concerning art, how does one move beyond entirely subjective positions?

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