Figuratively Speaking + Nude Poetry

Harcourt House Artist Run Centre presnets:

26th Annual Naked Show + Art Sale: Figuratively Speaking + Nude Poetry by Dani Zyp
June 21 – July 3, 2018
Opening Reception: Thursday, June 21, from 7 – 10 pm
Art Education Room . Annex Building . Harcourt House Artist Run Centre
10211 – 112 Street, Edmonton

The exhibitions, Figuratively Speaking and Nude Poetry are organized and presented in conjunction with 2018 THE WORKS Art & Design Festival and the 30th Anniversary of Harcourt House Artist Run Centre.

Over the centuries, the human body has been a favoured subject for artists. Ranging from providing a record of a specific person’s appearance to a focus on social critique, the possibilities of working with the human body are endless.

For most of the 20th century, in Western Art, modern art largely ignored figurative works in favour of the significant avant-garde movements – from Cubism to Minimalism – that embraced abstraction. Only a few movements to include figuration (like Expressionism, Surrealism, and Pop Art) would make their way into “high art” discourse until roughly the 1980s, when figurative painting and drawing returned with a vengeance, in particular via the works of American Neo- Expressionist artists like Julian Schnabel, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Eric Fischl. In Canada, the human form has been the subject of the works by several contemporary artists, including: Alex Colville, Christopher Pratt, Angela Grossmann, Tony Scherman, Alexandra Haeseker, Karen Dugas, and Julian Forrest, to name just a few. Since then, figurative art has continued its resurgence, and its current forms feature a wide range of experimental forms, compositions, and subjects.

The current landscape of contemporary figurative art is particularly strong, not only due to the commercial market for it, but perhaps more so the way that artists are portraying people in response to salient topics and issues of the 21st century – from race, gender, and war, to privacy, social media, and love. This is particularly reflected in both exhibitions, Figuratively Speaking and Nude Poetry, for they explore the emotional and social implications of representing the human figure. The artworks and the poems are the striking and well-articulated illustrations in an arsenal of iconographic, philosophical, and conceptual ordnance encompassing a wide gamut of formalistic and stylistic approaches to the subject of human form.

The exhibitions Figuratively Speaking: 26th Annual Naked Show and Nude Poetry double as a fundraiser for Harcourt House Artist Run Centre with 30% of each artwork sold to support Harcourt’s art exhibitions and art education programs.


  1. Harcourt House Artist Run Centre operates the longest continuously running Life Drawing Program in Alberta. This program attracts participants– multiple times a week – whose skill level ranges from beginner to top-tier professionals all working side-by-side. It is the only ongoing art program in Alberta with a classical approach to learning, specifically working with a live model to develop knowledge of anatomy, portraiture, and knowledge of the human form.
  2. Danielle (Dani) Zyp is an Edmonton-based poet and illustrator. She started to write stories at the age of five always illustrated with her own artwork. Supported by family and friends, she continues to publish, participate in readings at various venues, and write new works, always with art in the process. From Melbourne in Australia to Vancouver in B.C., she worked for many years as a professional writer in tv/film/radio, and journalism. Under the pen-name Dani Zyp, she has self-published four books of poetry with covers of her own paintings on three of them.
  3. Ronald Kurt is an Edmonton-based poet. Kurt has published in over thirty literary magazines, including The Antigonish Review, The Nashwaak Review, Prairie Fire, and Toronto Life. His poems have recently been published in the Barrio Poster Series. He is also the author of eight poetry chapbooks.
  4. Roylin Picou is a New Orleans-born and Edmonton-based poet, songwriter, and musician.

Figuratively Speaking Participating Artists:
Bonnie Bigley, Karen Blanchet, E. Ross Bradley, Verne Busby, Scott Carmichael, Carrol Charest, Catharine Compston, Susan Diebel, Edmund Haakonson, Maureen R. Harvey, Bob Jones, Darren Kooyman, Lloyd Litke, Nirma Mehta, Gordon B. Ramsey, Lor Schneider, Glenys Switzer, Raymond Theriault, Bella Totino, Keith Turnbull, Ritchie Veltuis

Image: The Recline by Gordon Ramsey. Mixed media, 2018. Photo: Ruta Nichol