Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Why Realism?

The other day I was listening to Philadelphia's public radio station, WHYY, and Lloyd Swartz was giving a review of the Willem de Kooning exhibit at the MoMA in New York. He quoted the artist as saying, "After awhile, all kinds of painting becomes just painting for you....abstract or otherwise. Being anti-traditional is just as corny as being traditional." I have often considered the question as to why I have chosen realism as my niche, and have come up with many different explanations. I think it is an important question, and one that is fun to explore.......so I put it to the level four students the other day. Here are some of the responses that they came up with.

"I am a realist because I love true abstaction." Jason Espey

"There is more magic in reality, than you could possibly imagine, therefore that's where I look" Penny Harris

"I think I'm just a masochist." Caroline Weitzman

"I decided to become a realist painter so that I could study and understand life in a meaningful, profound way and then express what I have discovered to others. By painting what I see as realisticically as I can, as close to the truth as possible, I come to know something about the object in front of me. The in-depth study gives me the chance to relate to what I am seeing and motivates me to share that insight with others. My hope is to move the viewer emotionally in some way that causes them to think about what they are looking at....sharing an idea that they will want to ponder and perhaps share with someone else." Allisyn Kuntz

"For me, sometimes, too much is made of the difference between abstraction and realism. All visual artists work with spacial construction. For example, the figure painter works with geometric anatomical constructs to understand the form. Good realsim is just the successful overlapping of all these abstractions in one painting." Vanessa Fenton

"Why do I choose to paint realistically? Because I am realist. The world is beautiful and important to everybody. Seeing truth with a pure eye is not too easy a task without making a stereotype of an image and idea. You have to study nature's rules almost rather scientifically. It is exciting to see and to product as an artist." Sakiko Shinkai

So, that is what some of our students have to say about why they have thus far on their journeys, to travel down the path of realism. Please feel free to write into our blog and let us know what you think.

By the way, my favorite painting of de Kooning's is "Clam Diggers."

Willem De Kooning
Clam Diggers
Oil on paper on composition board
20.2" x 14.5"

1 comment :

  1. If ones vision of realist and abstract art are to be combined, one must work hard to develop both skills to achieve the vision. Stating that one is better than the other is a waste of breath.