Norman Rockwell (1894–1978) was a celebrated 20th-century American painter and illustrator, whose works became the imagery depicting everyday life in the States. It appears, Rockwell’s photo-realistic artworks were often accompanied by staged photographs which artist then used as a reference to paint his nostalgic scenes.
Storytelling is a natural part of all of Rockwell’s paintings. Often disguised, the true story would reveal itself through the smallest details which the artist always considered beforehand. Take his illustration called “Marriage Counseling” (below): the intention is clear but there are many unfolding details like the man’s black eye or even the books stacked in the shelves reading Van Eyck and Giovanni Bellini. Due to these impeccable narratives, even the reference photographs become works of art.
“There were details, accidents of light, which I’d missed when I’d been able to make only quick sketches of a setting. A photograph catches all that.”
At first, Norman Rockwell was hiring professional models but after awhile he switched to having his friends and neighbors posing for the photographs. For example, the tattooed sailor (below) was also Rockwell’s neighbor, Clarence Decker. During his career, artist produced over 4,000 original works and snapped more than 20,000 reference shots. The collection was revealed by the Norman Rockwell Museum and its curator, Ron Schick. It was also turned into a traveling exhibition and book titled “Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera”. (via NPR)
Shay Kun’s paintings push viewers to challenge their philosophical and aesthetic limitations. While the paintings use appropriated images from the internet, glossy magazines and daily life, they question where fantasy begins and reality ends. Our dreams and thoughts are capable of taking us on journeys beyond reality, but when do we actually cross that threshold? Could we have actually experienced scenes as we remember them?
Each piece in the exhibition explores fantasy and escapism not only with evocative imagery, but also with a variety of source materials and methods of display. In Brief Encounter, Kun offers a film noir still of a car driving into the depths of a rainy night and invites onlookers to remember not only familiar films with similar atmospheres, but their own experiences with departure and loss. Kun also manipulates the foreground into a complex, dramatic tableau; the foreground presents an almost surrealist puddle without the literal interference of a window. Condensation from precipitation, however, is reserved for the background; the scenario is physically impossible, and the painting teases the mind to understand its dissonance.
Objects like ropes, hot air balloons and old-fashioned cars accrue an almost satirical element with their nostalgic references to a pleasant past and childhood. These idyllic environments are predominately kept in the background of these pieces, but the masterfully painted objects feel at once fresh with their photo-realistic qualities. These are contemporary works that challenge the effectiveness of memory and suggest that nostalgia shapes and colors our interpretations of the past.
Sam Jinks is interested in reality. Well sort of of. The photo realist sculptor creates marvelously lifelike figurative sculptures that will make you take a double, triple, and perhaps a quadruple take to see what they are made of and how. You would swear that these are actual figures frozen in time except for the slight alterations that Jinks has made such as a foxes head on a human figure (pictured after the jump), or tattoos that look as if they were drawn under the skin, or faces without mouths. At times dark, grim, and just a bit surreal these incredible sculptures will make you rethink the beauty in our skin, hair, and pores and be slightly spooked all at once. Reality has never been more frightening. (via jobs wife)