Art History is full of Bathers, whether scenes from or inspired by ancient Greek and Roman mythology; the late 19th and 20th Century where the bathing nude was used to express intimate domesticity, more radical views of naturalising the human form, or as a timeless image to explore representational painting itself. Figurative Art Now has its share of contemporary Baths and Bathers.
Rosemary Burn Bath Water Oil on board 35 x 30 cm £600
Rosemary Burn's Bath Water is a painting in oil of bathwater, a seemingly mundane everyday sight, which nevertheless provides a wonderfully enigmatic and complex subject. Light is captured in the ripples of water as it undulates its way from the taps to fill the bath.
Rosemary says, "My works are inspired by the people and objects that leave an impression upon my everyday life; oscillating between impressionist and 'almost realist', my compositions are created using oil paints on synthetic board. A loaded stillness accompanies the paintings, and the use of fluid brushstrokes and lighting enhance the three-dimensional aspects of my subjects."
Rosemary doesn't stop there with the bathing theme; her other is of a child swimming.
Rosemary Burn Swim Oil on board 40 x 35 cm £600
"I enjoyed capturing the dynamism of the splash and the bubbles under the swimmer, as well as the impression of a sunny landscape in the background."
Another artist who has captured children in their bathing costumes on canvas is Lena Finn.
Lena Finn Under the Sprinkler Oil and acrylic on canvas 50 x 40 cm £500
"Lockdown and our compulsory confinement allowed me to reminisce with my children. I took inspiration from photographs of my children when they were much younger. I enjoyed the challenge of taking initial sketches through to paintings. I have used minimal detail and a limited palette, and by omitting faces, I want the viewer to identify with the feeling or memory of children playing, carefree on a summer's day." - Lena Finn.
Frederick Jones Bath Oil on canvas 38 x 30 cm £500
The influence of early 20th Century Modernist painters is evident in Frederick Jones' painting Bath. He explains, "My works aim to catch the texture of the everyday world - places, times, effects of light and weather. I am also concerned with the abstract geometries which remain visible within, or arising from, the world of appearances. The main influences on my etching have been the etchings of Rembrandt and modern Dutch and Scandinavian printmakers."
Janet Lynch Remembering Mishima Oil on canvas 100 x 140 cm £4,500
"I first read the short stories by Yokio Mishima (1925-1970) when I was very young, and the story of the family maid who brought hot water for the formal weekly family bath has stayed with me. She was of least importance in the family, so it was her turn to use the tub, last of all. In these moments, her desire for the family's young son manifested itself, and I have tried to capture the subtle eroticism of that moment in this unashamedly narrative painting.
Of course, the fish are a reference to many Japanese works and are entirely symbolic." - Janey Lynch.
Irene Marot The First Light Oil on canvas 56 x 70 cm £1,200
"One of a recently completed series of works of a group, of mostly elderly, swimmers who challenge themselves, joyously and courageously, daily at dawn by swimming, in the sea, through the seasons. Myself being one of them." - Irene Marot
David Micheaud Motel Shower Oil on board 30 x 40 cm £900
"Travelling for work. Stuck in a crappy motel, alone, with not much to do apart from shower. The plastic cubicle was an unfashionable beige eerily lit from a single spotlight, turned upside down here." David Micheaud describes his practice: "Seemingly mundane objects and landscapes are carefully observed over time. Overlooked details become central in paintings that capture the atmospheric tones of light and delicate shifts in the colour of the environments that frame them. They appear to be born of a resistance to the typical pace of looking, a desire to slow down and delve deeper. Clean lines, dream-like moods and minimal compositions present the familiar in partial abstraction."
Philip Tyler Resident XII Oil on board 12 x 40 cm £750
"Whilst the self-portrait has been a reoccurring motif in my work since the early 80s with lockdowns and being shielded and regarded as extremely clinically vulnerable, I have spent almost a year working from home and barely going out. This sense of claustrophobia and the inner dialogues one has with oneself have become the subject of my most recent work executed since January 2021. I am now six months older than my brother was when he died. This sense of my own mortality, the frailty of existence has become my driving force to assert my presence upon the world before I am no longer here." - Philip Tyler.
Figurative Art Now is available to Browse & Buy until 20 September