Marc Dennis’ hyperrealistic paintings are centered around the gaze and ideal for viewers who enjoy spending a lot of time with a single work of art. Layered with symbol upon symbol, it’s apparent that there are two subjects featured in any one of his complex compositions – the person who does the looking and the object that’s being looked at. As we view how the two interact, we form a narrative about their relationship. What does it mean, for instance, that a NFL cheerleader stares at the classic Les Demoiselles d’Avignon by Picasso? How do the they relate to each other? And, how does this relate to us? In an interview with Hi Fructose, Dennis talks about trying to find our own meanings within art. He explains:
I saturate my paintings with truths and suggestions about human behavior, ways of looking, and the psychological, spiritual and physical relationships we have with art. Walter Benjamin, the famous social critic once said, “To experience the aura of a phenomenon means to invest it with the capability of returning the gaze.” I believe that we, as viewers and art lovers, are eager and more pleased when it happens, to find ourselves, or some semblance of ourselves in a work of art. In other words, I do my part in “returning the gaze” that Benjamin speaks of. And in this hyper self-conscious, glamour-driven, sexually-inflated and media-obsessed art culture of today, my works are satirical yet sincere, artificial yet real, and most definitely loaded with personal symbolism yet public pomp — a timely combination and expression. (Via Faith is Torment)
This picture of Morgan Freeman is not a photograph. It’s actually a hyperrealistic digital painting by Kyle Lambert. Using an iPad, the app Procreate, and over 285,000 brush strokes, the artist recreated a picture of the actor (the original photograph is by Scott Gries). The result makes you do a double and then triple take. Lambert’s painting is nearly identical to its source. The entire thing took over 200 hours, and he created a four minute time-lapse video that details the process.
Touted as “The World’s Most Realistic Finger Painting,” Lambert approaches the construction of his piece in a traditional way. He prepares a solid ground to paint on and works in layers, building up volume and texture. He refines details with each stroke. Just when you think the portrait is nearly done, Lambert continues to add highlights and details to the tiny hairs in Freeman’s beard. Here, the his fingerprint works to his advantage, as he uses light pressure to make subtle, light strokes.
There’s no denying that technology has changed painting. With apps like Procreate and the ease of holding an iPad, it’s possible to create something like Lambert did with enough practice and skill. You don’t necessarily have to know hold a paintbrush, or have knowledge of traditional methods of painting. You just need to know how to use the program. Working digitally gives an artist the chance to zoom into their piece, adding fine details that wouldn’t be possible otherwise. It’s also very forgiving. Instead of having to cover up part of a painting with more paint, they can simply undo their last moves. Whereas a covering up an oil painting will show some evidence of what’s beneath, in a digital work, no one is the wiser. (Via Twisted Sifter)
Montreal-based artist Francois Chartier creates still-life paintings with a photorealistic quality. He often pairs the still-life object with an image of crumpled tissue paper that is dramatically shaped around each object, creating an overall presentation of the still-life object. The juxtaposition of these textures – matte and crumpled with the bright and shiny – demonstrates Chartier’s level of skill as a realistic painter. Surprisingly, Chartier hasn’t always been a painter. After 30 years in advertising as a commercial artist, he entered the fine art world full-time at the age of 50.
Chartier applies the acrylic paint with an airbrush onto a smooth gesso base. He explains, “Although my paintings are realistic, my goal is to create through the layering of mediums and the play of the brush, the illusion of depth and sense of presence beyond what is found in photographs. . . I am drawn to painting large scale works where my subjects, always painted bigger then life size, are given room to seize the viewer and where life’s smaller details are revealed in their beauty and simplicity.” (via juxtapoz)
Michael Ward’s hyperrealistic paintings remind me of the type of photographs I take when I travel to new cities. I am always drawn to graphic elements and the juxtapositions of buildings, signs, and their locations. And, indeed, most of Ward’s paintings are based off of photographs he’s taken over the years, primarily of Southern California. Though his work was not intended to address the nostalgia of these places, most of the images’ places he’s recreated have been altered or have entirely disappeared, his work becoming an archive of transitional places. Ward’s influences include Edward Hopper, Charles Scheeler, RIchard Estes, and Vermeer. A self-taught painter, Ward began his artistic career drawing pen and ink renditions of historical architecture, before experimenting first in gouache, then in acrylics. Of his work, Ward says,”I am most interested in depicting what Alan Watts called the mystery of the ordinary; the workaday world we live in without seeing until we are forced to focus upon it, as in a painting.”
Phyliss Lutjeans, a museum educator and curator observes,“Although Michael Ward may be called a neo-realist painter his work can ultimately be described as abstract realism. The picture image is photographically realistic, but within the context of the painting his compositions are complex and almost abstract. Deciphering the work section by section one sees how a multitiude of individual complete compositions are put together to form the entire work. For me the viewer is confronted by a realistic image that puzzles us and clearly tells the story simultaneously.” (via the paris review)