The Myth of Nudity

View Magazine – Vol. 10 No. 30 o July 2004
By Laura Hollick

My first impression of Robert Creighton’s prints at the Transit Gallery was that they were Oriental–style nudes. But, then I noticed poetic French and English words written like graffiti across some of the images. Maybe, I realized, these images are speaking of some kind of unity: unity of different languages, unity of people from different worlds.

The notion of different worlds often leads us into the realm of myth and legend, fantasy and spirituality. Creighton’s new show, Tangential Myths prompts us to read his language of visual poetry, to discover the stories of our own personal and cultural myths. Tangential Myths means, “that they are about ideas, that approach the idea of why myths were originally created” Creighton explains. “To illustrate a lesson or historical story or cultural position that people originally thought important enough to pass on to the future. My prints are illustrating ideas that could approach the intention of myths but are as yet not so.”

His random ink blots, reminiscent of Rorschach Tests, splatter across the surface, as if marking the energetic auras of the figures telling their stories in stillness. The generalized male and female figures lounge throughout the images exposing their most private parts— both physical and psychological. The monochromatic use of colour seems to tame the erotic images by giving them an earthy appearance reminiscent of cave art. The images hand out passes into a different world: the world of the human psyche.

“It is more a story about human psyche, spirit or about humanity,” Creighton says, “rather than a specific story. They (the figures in the images) are presented in scenarios relating to human actions and presented in a human context. The key focus of my work is about the human condition/ psyche expressed through the use of the figure to connect with people. The works in this exhibition are about people. These figures represent the idea of the person, his and her strengths, hopes, desires, frailties, beliefs and myths.”

First impressions can be deceiving, as they lead us to judge a book by its cover. But we all know there is an entire story within the covers of every book. If we were to lift the cover of each of us to get into the true story of our own personal psyche, what story would be revealed? What myths have we created about ourselves and our society? The artist confesses: “I try to get people, through looking at my work, to question what is really important about our lives, our existence. I try to encourage people to think about where we are and why.”

Uncovering our physical and psychological nudity is a process of stripping down the layers of armor we wear in our daily battles to protect our image. Without the armor, stories explaining why we are the way we are surface like lilies in a pond. That is exactly what Robert Creighton has done. He travelled the into the spirit/ psyche of who we are, and recorded his findings, like any good artist, for all future travellers to see. Taking a tangent from reality, Tangential Myths digs into our hidden selves, buried in our being, waiting for the nomadic soul to come for a visit.

The myth of nudity is a story about who we are, men and woman. We are all nude underneath, and the unity between the exposed and hidden worlds collide in this bilingual show, Tangential Myths.