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Painting qua Photography – Photorealism

September 18th, 2012 No Comments

    Is it a photograph or is it a painting?  While so many photographers attempt to introduce ‘painterly’ effects to their photographs (say ‘thank you’ to Photoshop), artists who possess advanced technique have eschewed Post-Modern Art and practice ‘Photorealism’ – a style of painting which aims to be both true to life yet expresses the subject from the painter’s perspective, i.e. realism through the medium of the painter.  

    Earlier today Christie’s concluded an auction in Amsterdam, Property Of The Scheringa Museum Of Realist Art, which contains several Photorealist paintings.  The works in this 158-lot auction may be viewed as a slideshow or as a catalogue.  

    One of the founders of Photorealism of a kind was surely William Waterhouse.  Yigal Ozeri’s Priscilla in Ecstasy is ’21st Century Waterhouse’, so to speak.  This painting represents a sub-style that is just about where painting ends and photography begins.  Also check out Ozeri’s Untitled (Lot 43).

    We, however, are more interested in the photography aspect of the Photorealist School and, to start off, doesn’t Michael Taylor’s grl rstng on svle chr (sic) look like a ‘stream of consciousness’ ‘day in the life’ photograph you’d see in an art institute’s exhibition?

    The oddly-named Portrait of Mr. Gachet by Stefan Hoenerloh has nothing to do with Vincent and is a wonderful composition of an impersonal urban-scape which ties in the ‘Golden Ratio’ and the ‘Rule of Thirds’ to arresting effect.  The very different tones of the foreground and background buildings and their converging angles add to the coldly hypnotic ‘pull’ of this photograph – er, painting.

    Gerard Schlosser’s C’est en Novembre is a study in lines, countours and hues which – except for a tiny green-black patch – are exclusively in ochre and beige.  Had this picture been a photograph, it would have been classed in the Modernist or Post-Modernist style but as a painting, it is classed as Photorealism!

    Do you like underexposure?  Polarizer?  Other filters?  Those are probably what Damian Loeb (figuratively) used when he painted Straw Dogs, a moody landscape – and this is how Vincent would have shot if he had been a photographer.  

    On the other hand, in The Sum of Human Knowledge, Terry Rodgers seems to have taken a photograph of a few lucky bachelors and their ravishing stripper friends, and then tightly cropped it and Photoshopped it to make it just a little ‘harder’.  Note how the tableau vivant of a kind is vertically divided by a central foreground figure into a major and minor sub-tableau.

    The above are just a few of the highlights from this very fine auction.  Don’t miss Lot 77.

    Not all the works are paintings posing as photographs.  You’ll find many that are true-blue paintings and a few that seem to have elements of both painting and photography, say, a painted-in figure over a ‘photographed’ background.  As a photographer, you’re sure to find some images here to inspire you so click on the slideshow or catalogue, and On With the Show! 


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