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1:33 PM Wed, Nov. 21st

'Sensational Six' bare all for art show

Lady Godiva's "bare" back ride around the plaza Friday was the forerunner for an art exhibit of nude drawings and paintings aptly titled, "The Naked Truth."

Six local professional artists, who call themselves the Sensational Six, have painted together for more than a year using live nude models in order to create this body of work.

"The Naked Truth" will be on exhibit for four days beginning Friday from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Hermon Adams Studio Gallery at 105 S. Cortez St., and continuing from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 17, and 11 to 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 18.

The art will range from sketches to finished paintings and show all phases of human life from pregnant nudes to babies and beyond.

Exhibiting nude art in Prescott is a bit risky, the six artists concede, but they believe it is vital and valuable as an art form.

"The human body has been a means of study for artists down through history and the most difficult art form to do," said Bonnie Casey, one of the participating artists.

When another of the artists, Natalie Krol, first suggested they do a show of their nude work, Casey questioned how Prescott would received it.

"Whoa!" she said. "We're looking at a very conservative area."

Then again, she thought, on the rare occasions that a nude painting has been included in a show at Prescott Fine Arts Gallery, it usually sells.

So the group decided to go ahead with it, though, no doubt, "The Naked Truth" "will shake Prescott up a bit," Casey said.

So far, people are enthused about the show, Krol said. "I've heard lots of interesting reactions, but not one that's negative – most people know us and our reputations – though they do think we're gutsy to do it in a town like Prescott."

Nude figures in art are as classic as the Sistine Chapel, as timeless as Michelangelo's David.

"I think people have loved the human figure from time immemorial," Krol said.

And it seems that art featuring the unclothed human body is once again gaining widespread popularity.

November's issue of both Southwest Art and Art Business News highlight nudes, the latter of which wrote that nudes are the fastest growing collector item on the market.

"So we're at the forefront of returning to the nude figure. Isn't that wonderful?" Krol said. "We're on the crest of the wave … nudes are coming back."

Each "Naked Truth" artist "honors the human figure by expressing the figure's inner consciousness and vitality," she noted.

Clareen Barrett manipulates computer images for a new feel with bold color, but still retains the figure.

Cyrille LeBlanc, who usually draws cowboys and wildlife, found drawing nudes to be good training in how she looks at her animals by looking at human animals.

Bret Blevins, a Disney artist and teacher at Yavapai College, does detailed watercolors from the model.

Hermon Adams uses figures in all his work and the nude training supplements his understanding of the body.

Krol finds doing nudes on canvas interesting as a different medium from her stylized bronze figures, and Casey was a portrait painter for many years in Michigan, so finds herself returning anew to painting humans.

"I flipped out when I saw the variety of approaches each of us had, yet we were all pulling together," Krol said.

"So we thought, well, maybe this is the time" to wake up the community, Casey said. "It's something that hasn't been done in Prescott before and I know in some cases people are reluctant to look at the figure as a work of art, but I think it is. I hope they'll be receptive."

"Everyone needs a nude somewhere in a bathroom, bedroom or hallway. It makes you smile when your day begins," Krol said.

Contact Sandy Moss at smoss@prescottaz.com