the work of michael leonard has been ever present in my life… his nudes pre-dates any porn i encountered and with great effect on my teenage sensibilities. it is however an important component in the social history of male sexuality and perception; besides the obvious sensationalism, i was always intrigued by the docility of his nudes; for while they still exert the force of an ideal male form similar to classical depictions, they do so without a violence or a religious motivation… they capture an indiscriminately intimate (and inviting) moment of quiet vulnerability. throughout his prolific painting and drawing, one of the prevailing themes in his work has been this innocent changing and bathing poses of men.
something he describes best…
my nudes are generally shown in a state of change or transition. i am particularly fascinated by the dynamic effects of movement on the body and the many subtle stresses of muscle, bone and sinew that come into play. a half turn, a shift of balance, sometimes no more than the intention to move can animate an entire figure. these effects can be seen most clearly in male anatomy.
when bathing or dressing, the body unconsciously assumes a succession of beautiful shapes that suggest the urgency of sport or the eloquence of dance. in this way everyday routine becomes charged and memorable.