I find Jenny Saville's work fascinating. This morning we went to Oxford to see her exhibition at Modern Art Oxford. I find it like looking at the huge paintings of the Renaissance while also absorbing Abstract Expressionism - what an effect they have! And now home I have found a marvellous interview filmed in which she explains so much so well - I found it so enlightening about her motivation, process, and so much more. It is an hour long. (If the link does not work, go to the Modern Art Oxford site, click on the exhibition, and then on Additional Resources.)
These paintings are huge - they are overwhelming, perhaps like being in a congregation in a Giotto or Michelangelo interior, but knowing that this is life now, this is you, this is substantial flesh, a person but also humanity.
The multi-layered work, translucent layers of figures, nudes, do not have the opacity of the paintings, but are just as substantial. They capture for me that collage-like knowledge accumulated over centuries of human civilisation.
I am still overwhelmed by the visual experience, and my mind is buzzing with all the input of exhibition and filmed interview. I leave further review to the professional critics: in the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Observer and Aesthetica blog. As well as the work in Modern Art Oxford, there are pieces in the Ashmolean Museum in Oxford now. That is where her reproduction/ adaptation of Leonardo's cartoon for Virgin and Child with St Anne is.