Creativity Explored artists get ‘Naked’ 

"Naked" constitutes a first for many of the artists working out of Creativity Explored, a nonprofit art facility that, since 1983, has provided people with developmental disabilities — cerebral palsy, autism, Down syndrome, mental illness — with a space to learn, create, exhibit and sell their work.

Even though the representation and study of the nude figure is integral to art and a staple of art education, LeighAnn Martin, who curated the show, says the artists at Creativity Explored initially were uncomfortable working with live nude models. She says, "This population tends to be very protected from sexuality and nudity, so just to feel OK about drawing someone naked was huge."

Artist Melody Lima says, "At first I was embarrassed." But, through the use of anatomical studies, books and photographs, discomfort gave way to concentrating on observation and proportion.

But for Steven Greeter, there wasn’t time to feel discomfort: "We were just thinking about the shapes."

Given that the distinction between the words "nude" and "naked" reflects shame and embarrassment, the exhibition’s title is significant.

Most of the works are two-dimensional representations that don’t necessarily picture particular people, yet many include images that suggest body parts — head, feet or hands. Some works include text, others are completely abstract.

John Patrick McKenzie uses words and a Xeroxed photograph of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, nude, to relate a particular associative logic:

Red Hot Chili Peppers like Mexican foods

Red Hot Chili Peppers like chicken enchiladas

Red Hot Chili Peppers like Rosarita refried beans

Naked

Where: 3245 16th St., San Francisco

When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, 1 to 6 p.m. Saturdays; closes March 1

Contact: (415) 863-2108, www.creativityexplored.org

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Staff Report

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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