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Graphite Arts Center announces new exhibition NùD: Art of the Figure

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William Webster. "Back Shadows" Graphite & White Charcoal on Grey Paper
William Webster. "Back Shadows" Graphite & White Charcoal on Grey Paper

Edmonds' newest art facility, Graphite, announced a new exhibition opening January 21, 2023. The NùD exhibit will celebrate figurative art focused on the human form.

A reception and awards ceremony for the show is planned on Saturday, January 21 from 7 pm to 8:30 pm. During the awards ceremony at the opening reception, cash prizes starting at $1500 will be given to the award recipients.

The show will be judged by two local artists — David Varnau, a sculptor whose art is informed by his 40-year professional career in the field of prosthetics, and Tracy Felix, who has taught portraiture, painting, and drawing through Edmonds College Arts Now, Cole Art Studio, and the Schack Art Center. Felix also serves as director of The Gallery at Graphite.

"I like to think of [Graphite] as more of a community outreach gallery," Felix told the SGN. "Because we're not a commercial gallery, we don't really have to show art that is comfortable for mainstream buyers."

Chris Beaven "Vulnerability Three" oil on canvas  

"Figurative artists are offered very few opportunities to exhibit their art in group exhibitions dedicated solely to the human figure," said Mary Olson, founder and owner of Graphite, in a press release Wednesday, January 10. Felix agreed. "The goal is to provide an incredible show for the purchase of this quality art, but also to get the community more comfortable with understanding the beauty and classical nature of figurative art."

What leads to that discomfort? While the human form has been the study and fascination of artists for millennia, present day art lovers seem to have become slightly more squeamish.

Felix has a theory. "When you think about naked people, a lot of people think it's sexual," she said, "but the figure in art goes all the way back to the Greeks and Romans. I think that the lack of understanding and appreciation is due to the lack of art education in our school system and the sexualization of the human body in mainstream media."

The show will be accompanied by numerous events throughout, including live drawing sessions, artist demonstrations, and a free lecture on the history of the nude in art given by Gage Academy of Art Artistic Director Gary Faigin. Art shown in NùD: Art of the Figure will be available for purchase in person and online.

For information on Graphite Arts Center's shows, community events, Art Start Northwest, and more, visit https://www.graphite-edmonds.org/ or follow them on Instagram @Graphite_Edmonds.