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)