About 20 years ago, Alisa Gabrielle, 43 at the time, a marriage counselor and sex therapist, sold her practice to pursue her childhood dream of becoming an artist.
She is now 66 and creates sculptures that are considered “erotic.”
“Whereas the word erotica carries the stigma of something dirty, my art is about honoring women and reflects my joy of being a woman,” said Gabrielle. “But if you think of the god Eros, he was the god of love.”
Artists like Gabrielle, who are part of Creative Nude Art, a rising subculture that seeks to disassociate the word nude from sex and pornography, will be displaying their work at ARTundressed, a festival that is taking place Thursday through Saturday at the McCormick Place, 111 SW Third St., in downtown Miami.
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Fritz Romeus, 40, is a local event producer who created ARTundressed.
“I started ARTundressed to give more exposure to these artists,” said Romeus. “It’s very hard for artists who deal with nude subjects to be represented because nude art is “erotic,” and when people hear the word erotic they think of porn.”
“In this country, people associate nude with pornography. Underneath what seems like a liberal society, we have a culture that is fearful and religiously based,” she said. “All over Europe and Latin America, the nude has been a sign of beauty and joy in artwork.”
The ARTundressed festival gives 120 artists a place to showcase their work.
Romeus decided to coin the term “Creative Nude Art” in order to attract a broader audience to the event because the word “erotic” carries a stigma of being tainted and degrading to women.
“When I started ARTundressed six years ago, it started picking up momentum with an underground audience and now, we are starting to attract more of the mainstream everyday Joe and Jane,” said Romeus.
The event will showcase a collection of art that is not often seen.
“About 80 percent of the imagery is not shocking in value, and while every exhibition is different, the overall concept is the same,” said Romeus, adding that ARTundressed celebrates the sensual aspects of art, music, fashion and entertainment.
“Sensuality is about appreciating beauty, where sexuality is a means to meet an end,” said Romeus. “I created ARTundressed because beautiful pieces of art are often neglected because generally people don’t see that distinction.”
More than 80 international artists representing 28 different countries are scheduled to attend the exhibition.
“We create an environment for people where they can be free spirited and free thinking, and artists are flying from all over the world just to be part of it,” Romeus said.
Tickets are on sale on the event’s website www.artundressed.com
IF YOU GO
What: ARTundressed Festival
Where: McCormick Place – 111 SW Third St., Miami, FL 33130
When: Nov. 20 and 21 from 6 p.m. – midnight, and Nov. 22 at 2 p.m. – 10 p.m.
Cost: Tickets are $15 for one day and $35 for the weekend. VIP tickets are $75.
For more information: Visit www.artundressed.com