Monday, November 29, 2010

denis peterson: hyper realism

Denis Peterson was one of the first photorealistic painters that appeared in New York City, and is considered among many to be a pioneer developing his work into Hyper-realism. after taking a long hiatus, he emerged again in the early 2000's using his skills as a vehicle for social change, focusing primarily on the mistreatment of citizens by their government, especially the homeless.
i find these pieces to be very compelling, and i wonder in what way they will impact society, if at all. a common criticism of photo/hyper realism is that it is strictly mimesis, and a camera can achieve the same thing only even more accurately.
Author Graham Thompson wrote "Richard Estes, Denis Peterson, Audrey Flack,and Chuck Close often worked from photographic stills to create paintings that appeared to be photographs. The hyperrealist genre is clearly more than an attempt to replicate the mechanical action of taking a photograph." I felt this merely insists that there is more to it than replication, without presenting what that might be. I think that it has something more to do with the experience the painter has.
if any of you have painted, or drawn from a still life before, you probably have noticed that the object you were working from looks different after that. it becomes more familiar and the intricacies of it's physical existence are more apparent, unless you worked in an impressionist manner. but the further one gets from impressionism and the closer they get to photorealism, the more parts of the subject they understand. the impressionist captures more the essence of the subject, while the realist captures the body. i think that is what the photorealists and the hyper-realists are after; a better understanding of their subject as it interacts with the physical space it occupies in reality.

I wanted to include this piece because I felt denis was poking fun at his own genre here. The challenge was painting the figures on the mural so that they looked like they were painted on the side of the shack. It gives him a chance to paint in a graphic and cartoony manner, while still staying true to his craft.

Whacky Shack

Dont Shed No Tears

Foot Action II

USA Today

Vortex of Despair

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