Title

To see again

Date of Award

Spring 6-2-2018

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Fine Arts (MFA)

Department

Painting

First Advisor

Kevin Zucker

Second Advisor

Jackie Gendel

Third Advisor

Roger White

Abstract

Contemporary criticism often describes realist paintings as facsimiles of our world, mimetic copies of a shared reality. Cast as a singular approach to painting that, with practice, any artist may adopt, realism is seen as an easy way out, which has been superseded by more complicated, advanced, and abstract visual languages. It is in this context that describing a painting as “realistic” becomes a backhanded compliment— recognition of acquired skill, but a jab to creativity—and all the more of a slight given the value that contemporary art has placed on de-skilling.

These blanket statements around realism misrepresent the tradition, diminishing its complexities and its power. Realism is not monolithic. Rather, different realisms are identifiable throughout art history and new modes continue to evolve today. They are united in so far as they are all lenses with which to experience a relatable world, but each lens is unique to the painter who forges it. This written compendium to my thesis work seeks to describe my particular lens.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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Painting Commons

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