Virgil Baruchel
Painting & Sculpture
September 2015

While studying art in New York en route to a somewhat uninspiring drawing class Baruchel took to regularly observing and drawing the riders of the city’s subway as nudes. He interpreted the characters as faceless abstractions, altered by his imagination. In one of these self directed studies he came across a veiled woman who inspired this body of work, Veiled Nudes, which began in 2013.

Baruchel begins by building a canvas of colour and contrast. He indulges in the process of painting the background, working with oil pastels and paint. Once he has weaved a bouquet of colour, the artist reluctantly but necessarily places a black lined figure within it. The painting would not exist without the figure; the background is only the context, a world created for the figure.

His figures are recognizably female. He sees them as strong, confident yet leisurely, but encourages the viewer to interpret the abstractions for themselves. He believes that every viewer, if they allow themselves to connect to a canvas has the capacity to write its story.

Baruchel’s gaze is more nuanced than the traditional connection to the male gaze in the history of art. In the tradition of working with nudes, he feels that both the artist and model are trapped by the reality of the body. Movement becomes less fluid, while the posture and proportions are distractions to abstract interpretation. As the body is simplified so is the face. The ‘veil’ conceals the figure's face, eliminating the viewer’s ability to connect to the figure and encouraging instead a self reflective viewing of the work. Baruchel doesn’t want to tell his viewer what to see. His work is not about answers but rather a frame for questions and multiple readings motivated by the viewer.