liverpool-uk

Sylvia Sleigh, David Bourdon, 1969, oil on canvas, 30 x 21".

Sylvia Sleigh

Tate Liverpool

Sylvia Sleigh, David Bourdon, 1969, oil on canvas, 30 x 21".

The salon-style hang accorded the paintings displayed on the green walls in the single large gallery that housed Sylvia Sleigh’s recent retrospective at Tate Liverpool may have given the impression of an oldfashioned sort of exhibition, particularly since her works are figurative, often portraits. But the cozy hang belied the artist’s progressive attitude, which immediately became apparent upon closer inspection. Dead center on the main wall were two life-size portraits of Philip Golub, a young, lean man with long, curly hair—one showing him dressed and the other naked. Sleigh, who died in 2010 at the age of 94, wanted to confront the male gaze and counter it with a female point of view, and her solution was to paint men in the nude.

Born in Wales and educated at the Brighton School of Art, Sleigh moved to New York in the 1960s with her second husband, the critic (and later

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