Brixton-Based painter, Venetia Berry, is painting female form to change the perception of the female nude.
Confidently and compassionately, Berry is using her sensitive understanding of women in Art to present the female nude as a non-sexualised, empowering and relatable image. In the past, the portrayal of female form provided connotations of women as vulnerable and exposed. Berry’s artwork therefore serves as a contrast to the female nude which has been recreated throughout history in the eyes of a male artist whilst with a male viewer in mind. Hence, through her colourful, imaginative and refreshing paintings, Berry is providing women today with a much needed alternative of the female nude. Importantly, her work is created “by a female; for anyone”.
In order to provide this refreshing portrayal of female form, Berry celebrates the personality of women. On the matter, Berry had said, “my figures wouldn’t be able to walk off the page and live in the real world”, and so, in her paintings, Venetia Berry is creating a woman — in essence and form — rather than merely painting a body. Excitingly, female viewers are then able to feel a connection with the nude forms she creates. Women’s ability to identify with her work is essential to Berry as she explains that: “I’m not painting one type of person, and so, all women are represented”. In a beautiful way, the use of pure line and the absence of colours alluding to skin tones, allows the nude forms accessible as well as representative of all women.
The inviting aspect of Venetia Berry’s artwork is yet another strength of her craft. The dreamlike aura of the paintings allows viewers to interpret each painting with their own meaning and understanding; it’s as though the painting is entirely unique to the viewer as they complete the creative process with their own thought. Involvement between the paintings and the viewer is a tangibility which Berry has been conscious of creating since she had learnt that “apparently people spend 12 seconds looking at a painting”, hence, she wanted to provide paintings that made people think more, be involved with: “something people have to look at, to be involved with the artwork”.
And so, born out of the frustration of the venerable depiction of women in past nude paintings, Berry gives us female form that is thought-provoking, inclusive and proud. In doing so, her artwork embodies an authentic depiction of womanhood embodied in the nude form.