“Realism”, as in the painted 2-D illusion of the recognizable, is the most pervasive art form in the history of Western art. At various times it has come to the fore, at other times it has been obliterated. Over the ages, Realism has repeatedly resurfaced and become relevant to the prevailing culture.
In the last decade there has been a proliferation of “atelier” art schools teaching the skills, methods, and knowledge of the past. Coupled with the revival of the atelier is the use of the Internet, allowing literally thousands of like-minded painters to find each other, to form social collectives, to teach, to learn and to pass on information.
The value of the Internet to the recent revitalization of realism cannot be understated. The high technology of speed and dissemination of information ironically also suits those whose normal pursuit is in the solitary life of the slowly made art: the artist who uses age-old skills with pigment on canvas to create beguiling illusions.
Amalgamation oil on panel 30.5 x 40.5 cm
Artists working in one form of realism or another have flocked to social networking sites. They have joined art forums and Facebook, set up blogs and webcasts, uploaded videos on YouTube, even produced DVDs. Online video art magazines dedicated to realism have recently attracted a large following.
Why? The answer is so obvious that it's staring us in the face: social networking sites, from Facebook to art forums, allow the reproduction and reduction of images, particularly of realist paintings, in a way that still lets them retain much of their potent imagery.
The Secret oil on panel 51 x 40.5 cm
Martin Creed won the Turner Prize with an installation consisting of an empty room with a light switching from on to off. How do we photographically represent this without it looking utterly lacking and insipid? Likewise, other art forms like installation art and video art lose much in reproduction, and video art dies on YouTube. By contrast, David Kassan's video of Finger Painting on the Apple iPad from the live model has gone viral with about 1.5 million views. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5OLP4nbAVA4
Greene St shadows oil on panel 30.5 x 25 cm
The retention of the "wow factor" in realist painting on the Internet comes from knowing that what we are looking at ultimately is paint on canvas. How the recent resurgence of realism takes shape and how it fits within the Contemporary Art World will be very interesting to watch in the coming years. One thing is certain: the re-skilling and emergence of literally hundreds of new realist painters per year will certainly have some effect.
Grayden Parrish, Susanna looking to the right oil on panel 50.8 x 45.5 cm
This exhibition is born of the Internet. The artists are decentralized, mostly located in the provinces and connected by social networking. Many of the artists in this exhibition are well known within the realism fraternity in Australia. Now, for the first time, their paintings are being seen here.
Bottle fly oil on panel 61 x 40.5 cm
The 20 artists included in More Real Than Real; Realism from the USA and Canada are ;
TRAVIS MICHAEL BAILEY from Union, Missouri
MARINA DIEUL from Montreal, Quebec
JEFF GOLA from Moorestown, New Jersey
JASON JOHN from Jacksonville, FloridaTARA JUNEAU from Victoria, British Columbia
DAVID KASSAN from Brooklyn, New York
JONATHAN KOCHTRAVIS LOUIE from Flushing, New York
LACEY LEWIS from Kansas,STEPHEN MAGSIG from Detroit
Lucky Deluxe oil on canvas 76 x 61 cm
BRIAN MARTIN from Providence, Rhode Island
JENNIFER NEHRBASS from Albuquerque, New Mexico
GRAYDON PARRISH from Austin, Texas
LEE PRICE from Beacon , New YorkCINDY PROCIOUS from Chattanooga, Tennessee
JONATHAN QUEEN from Cincinnati, Ohio
PIERRE RABY from Montreal, Quebec
KATHERINE STONE from Victoria, Canada
JOSHUA SUDA from Nanticoke, Pennsylvania
SADIE JERNIGAN VALERI from San Francisco, California