London, Aug 18 (ANI): An exhibition of nude paintings in an art gallery at a British council office has been taken down after just one hour, reason being that prudish staff found them 'offensive' and 'obscene'.
Artist John Vesty, 57, spent three months painting his 22 paintings and had arranged to display them for four weeks at the North Norfolk District Council offices in Cromer.
The decision taken by council officials on his conventional life studies has left him 'baffled, irritated and disappointed'.
All but one of his oil paintings in the exhibition called 'Figures in Light' were of naked or semi-nude women, but former actor Vesty and his supporters insists that none of the paintings were erotic or pornographic.
"All of them are standard life poses - the sort of work that artists have done for hundreds of years. There are no explicit full frontal poses or anything like that," the Daily Mail quoted him as saying.
"I was dumbfounded and astonished when I found out that they had all been taken down because there had been complaints.
"I felt disbelief that someone could object to paintings like this in this day and age and that the council should respond in such a politically correct way by removing them.
"You think that this sort of thing only happens in the Middle East in places like Iran or Iraq rather than in a Norfolk seaside town," he stated.he exhibition had been arranged by Karen Bethell, who runs North Norfolk Artspace, which operates the first-floor gallery in the council offices.
Vesty, of East Harling, was allowed to display his work free on the condition that he would pay 10 percent commission to the council and a further 15 percent to Artspace for any sales.
He emailed three examples of his paintings, priced between #180 and #700, to council officials to ensure they knew what to expect before hanging the works in the gallery.
Vesty and Bethell spent all of last Wednesday morning hanging the paintings before he left to go on holiday to the Lake District.
But Bethell received a call in the afternoon saying that all the paintings had been taken down and put in a cupboard so the public and staff would not see them.
Karl Read, the council's leisure and cultural services manager, said the artwork had been displayed in an area used by many members of staff and the public.
"In this case we received a number of complaints from members of staff and union representatives who found the paintings offensive," he said.
"Whilst respecting the fact that art, by its very nature, is open to subjective interpretation, on this occasion the council made the decision to remove the paintings from display.
"This is not a case of political correctness. Rather, it is a balanced reaction to some members of staff finding the artwork offensive.
"It should be noted that artwork has been removed from display for similar reasons in the past and clearly, with artwork being displayed in publicly accessible areas, if we receive complaints in the future, we may decide to take similar action again," he added. (ANI)