Seattle Artist Paints Realistic Portraits of Nude Women


Aleah Chapin has seen a lot of naked women. In the past couple of years, she’s studied wrinkles, tattoos, mastectomy scars, pubic hair, lactating breasts and sagging bosoms.

The 28-year-old American artist, who hails from an island off Seattle and now lives in Brooklyn, has been lauded for her realist, larger-than-life depictions of ‘real’ female bodies.

It started with the ‘Aunties Project’, which saw her paint a series of giant nudes, featuring a group of older women – her mother’s friends, who she “grew-up with” and has known all her life.

One won her the prestigious BP Portrait Award in 2012, the last time she was in London. It depicted a woman in her sixties, smiling with her fulsome breasts resting on her stomach.

Critic Brian Sewell called it “repellent…a grotesque medical record”.

Chapin was undeterred. She’s exhibited in the US, the Netherlands and Germany. Now, she’s back in London with a new show at the Flowers Gallery: ‘Maiden, Mother, Child and Crone’.

The paintings are in the same spirit – playful, confident, naked women – but her subjects now span the generations.

“I’m at the age where many of my friends are having children, thinking about having children, or thinking about not having children. So it’s something that’s happening now,” explains Chapin.

“And I’m nearing the age my parents were when they had me, so there’s this interesting layering of generations. I wanted to explore that in my work”.

Her paintings challenge the ageing process: how the years affect our bodies and minds, and how we’re ‘supposed to behave at a certain age.

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Visit Aleah Chapin’s website



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