SKIN DEEP by Jonathan Yeo
When the words cosmetic surgery come up in conversation, debate often ensues. In his Surgery Series, world-renowned portrait painter Jonathan Yeo steers us away from cosmetic surgery as a good or a bad thing, instead viewing the surgeon as an artist or sculptor.
Drawing a comparison between the way in which old-masters like Van Dyck who would often improve the appearance of their subject, Yeo used the pre-procedure lines drawn on to the skin of patients to explore the job of the plastic surgeon in a similar vein, tweaking people’s faces into a more idealised version of themselves.
“I’m documenting the artistry, as plastic surgeons really understand the structure of the human body. In the most fundamental way, they’re sculpting with bodies, and there’s an artistry, combined with a casual savagery, to the way they mark their patients before surgery.”
SKIN DEEP will open on March 10th at The Bowes Museum to include well known and acclaimed works from his ongoing Surgery Series, alongside recent oil paintings charting the latest developments in aesthetic enhancement.
Drawn from life during a surgical procedure, and from the photographic archives kept by surgeons of their patients the collection of work will show patients in pre- and post-operative states, exploring the intricacies and complex issues surrounding the current cult for cosmetic surgery and the quest for physical ‘perfection’.