Artist and former artist's model Zom Osborne, of Goonengerry, believes the difference between art and pornography lies within the artist's intent.
Artist and former artist's model Zom Osborne, of Goonengerry, believes the difference between art and pornography lies within the artist's intent. The Northern Star

Artists drawn into porn debate

WHERE does art end and pornography begin?

Zom Osborne said being naked and comfortable in front of an artist came when she knew she was appreciated and respected for what she was helping the artist to achieve.

Now aged in her late 40s, Ms Osborne said while she had not modelled for many years, she had agreed to sit for Byron Bay artist James Guppy for a series he is painting on middle-aged women.

"The paintings are about women's power and I feel he sees a female power that is more apparent in women as we get older," she said.

Ms Osborne said she believed the difference between art and pornography rested with the intention of the artist.

Mr Guppy, 54, said he believed that the line between the two was very broad.

A photographic exhibition at a Sydney art gallery by artist Bill Henson featuring nude pictures of adolescent girls has sparked furious debate between child advocacy groups, the Federal Government and the art community.

The exhibition was raided by NSW police last Friday, with the artist later charged with publishing an indecent article.

"For Bill Henson his work is about the transition from innocence to experience and he chooses to photograph the girls naked," Mr Guppy said.

"I know that within the art community some artists have felt he was getting close to the edge, but for me I don't think he is. But his work is having overtones for some people.

"While I was upset and disappointed when I heard the news, in a way I thought it was inevitable that authorities would misunderstand him."

Mr Guppy said the sexualisation of youth in our society through advertising was a more important and broader issue than Mr Henson's exhibition.

"This is something I have been angry about," he said. "Fashion houses consistently choosing 13 and 14-year-old girls as models to represent women is confusing.

"These are not women, they are children, adolescents, and we don't have models representing real women.

"I am confronting this issue in my work with a series of paintings on middle-aged women and their place in society."


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