No Crisis Here, Look Elsewhere

16 Oct 2012

I roll my eyes every time I hear about representational art and realism being "imperiled," because there are so many important representational artists painting right now. It's almost offensive how people think legitimacy comes with the passage of time. History can be a great equalizer, but art that is meaningful will always have--and never lose--its power.

J.F.H. with Four Doors
 by Alex Kanevsky, oil on wood, 36 x 58, 2011.
J.F.H. with Four Doors
 by Alex Kanevsky, oil on wood, 36 x 58, 2011.

Established artists who are perpetuating representational practice abound. Alex Kanevsky, Lisa Yuskavage, Stuart Shils, and Julie Heffernan all work in highly individualized ways. They have signature styles, and their work would never be mistaken for anyone else's. What unites them is that they all have a technically interesting approach and consistently come up with compelling narratives.

There are plenty of young artists working right now who are getting significant lifts in their careers as they become known to more people. Jennifer Presant's figurative realism is complicated by her use of unusual perspective and object-figure repetition. Ben Fenske doesn't settle for the conventional in his landscape paintings, I'm absolutely in love with his interiors, and his brushwork and color sensibility are also worth noting.

Bedroom II by Ben Fenske, oil painting, 35.4 x 43.
Bedroom II by Ben Fenske, oil painting, 35.4 x 43.
And I have to give a shout out to several amazing artists showing their work on Artist Daily. Fergus A. Ryan produces a wide range of work--landscape paintings, portraiture, still life--and every single piece shows a unique perspective and subtle color palette. Lee Stockdale's works always deliver a psychological impact, and her brushwork is visually interesting from a technical perspective. Mike Barr's cityscapes and seascapes both have an atmospheric quality that draws the eye, and he's found the perfect balance when it comes to the level of detail to include in his works.

And it will come as no shock that Daniel Greene contributes heavily to the reason why I am confident about art-making--and portrait art in particular--going forward. I was lucky to attend a Daniel Greene demonstration and workshop, and I was struck again and again by how articulate and quietly focused the artist is and how his students produce work that is heads and shoulders above the rest. In his Portrait Painting DVD series, I hope you'll find all that and more. Enjoy!


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