Saturday, June 15, 2013

The NEW Realism

I finally got around to reading my AMERICAN ARTS QUARTERLY that arrived earlier this week. For those of you that haven't seen it, and I hadn't until a friend let me read his, its free and comes out as they say, quarterly.

It is interesting in that it talks about the current trends in art without the usual ads and yes, suck up to some gallery, dealer, artist, etc. Its ad free and appears to be very scholarly. That said, I should add that its free for artists. All you have to do is apply to receive it. Email AAQ@CCSC.NET to get your own copies.

The lead article struck me. It is about the artist Adam Miller who is considered one of the shining stars of the "New" Realism. Titled "Adam Miller: Realism on the Brink," it gives a short history of realism in artistic history and notes that after the realism movement of the 50's died when Jackson Pollack was named the finest artist of the time, it is coming alive again in the 21st century.

Among The Ruins by Adam Miller
Realism has always seemed to be well, strange to me in the 20th and now 21st centuries. We had film and now digital cameras and Photoshop. To recreate with pinpoint realism a scene, the camera might do a lot better with the ability of PhotoShop to add or subtract whatever you want.

However, there is something about paint that no camera can capture. If you doubt that try taking a photo of a painting and see how close you can get. It will never be the same.

This article struck me because I have found that on my own, not really being influenced by anyone, I too was heading into realism, the exact opposite of the impressionism I so fervently wanted. Why? What was I looking for? If anything, I would say that I wanted to capture a moment in time. A moment of beauty because that beauty will soon be gone. It is too easy to find ugly. We seem to have the time to read or watch or see the worst, but little time to see the beauty that is around us each and every day.

More than Modernism dying as Nietzsche predicted because "man cannot live without God," the new realism is searching for that God but refuses to seek out the old Classicism but seeks "a new, relevant iconography, fit for a nation that seeks greatness." James F. Cooper's words, not mine.

Miller's scenes seem post apocalypse to me as this photo attests. The ruins of city form the background as a family struggles to survive this post-apocalyptic world. Other pictures start with a theme we might recall but are modern set in the future and that future, according to Miller, is sad and even more, grim.

This is a new twist on realism. In the past it told about the heroic, the religious, idealism, romanticism. Museums are filled with still lifes and portraits so real they look like a photograph. Vermeer's scenes capture a fleeting moment in time perfectly. This new realism though is different, searching, grim. Some might even add, godless, the first time in artistic history.

Artistic vision in many ways predicts the future. Will the future be a time of possibilities or a time of regression? Only time will tell.

Here are some links you might find interesting:

No comments:

Post a Comment