Beyond Reality: Hyperrealism and American Culture
Vero Beach Museum of Art
I recently had the pleasure of viewing the Hyperrealism and American Culture exhibit at the Vero Beach Museum of Art. Hyperrealism is the genre of sculpture and painting that resembles high resolution photography and it was first coined by Gallerist, Ivan Karp and some of his contemporaries around 1970. Hyperrealistic images are typically much larger than the original photographic reference and are often incredibly vibrant in color with sharp precision and detail. Hyperrealism presents a new reality and has its roots in the philosophy of Jean Baudrillard, "the simulation of something which never existed." With hyperrealism, we are taken beyond what the human eye can see or what a photograph, with its selective focus, can provide.
Upon entering the gallery, the familiar impressive figurative sculptures of Marc Sijan are represented. His Seated Gallery Guard II, a recent purchase for the museum is so incredibly realistic that one expects him to rise from the chair and admonish guests for getting too close to the artwork. His sculptures show his strong grasp of human anatomy and his sophisticated methods give a translucency to his models which go beyond life-like. Other sculptures which are interspersed among the paintings are works by Duane Hanson and John De Andrea. John De Andrea's Tara, a polychromed bronze of a young woman sitting on a stool with arms folded and a pensive expression on her face draws the viewer closer to develop their own subjective story line for her sadness.
Paintings represented ran the gamut from John Baeder's 1974 oil on canvas, Pullman (depicting an old Pullman train car) reliving memories of times past to Susan Sykes, 2010 oil painting entitled Red Cafe no. 2 which is evocative of a contemporary scene of 20 somethings at an outdoor cafe just hanging out and dining in vivid color and detail. Linda Bacon's 2007 painting, Grab Your Pardner, was a 3-D depiction of antique Western themed toys replete with lasso and gun and was a step back in time reminiscent of the Lone Ranger and the Wild West. Richard Estes's painting, Union Square Looking Northeast, 1993 brings the urban landscape into sharp focus. Diner scenes were represented...A view of Central Park...a painting very evocative of the Dutch Masters. Some of the other noted artists represented in the show included: Ralph Dudley, Ralph Goings, Kim Mendenhall, David Cone, Idelle Weber. Gallery attendees became time travelers, exploring forgotten territories of the past and fast forwarding into contemporary scenes and themes of our time.
While this particular exhibit is no longer at the Museum, the museum is a gem (with an expansion under way) and is a short two hour drive from Orlando. I highly recommend a stop at the museum if you are heading to South Florida or considering a day trip to the beach and need a culture fix. Some upcoming exhibits will include: Norman Rockwell: Behind the Camera, Landscape Paintings by Adam Strauss and Pop Art: Sources and Context.
Susan Pelteson, photographer, has exhibited at group exhibitions in Orlando and beyond. In her photography, she finds beauty and dramatic elements in vintage and found objects, in relationships and in the juxtaposition of old vs. contemporary contexts, particularly as they relate to women. Her work explores freedom and constraint and the realm of memories and dreams.Through the multiple lenses and depth of life experiences as a marriage and family counselor and founder/owner of a successful event design/coordination firm, Susan has developed unique perspectives on the human condition which is shared in her art. She has a life long passion for the arts and for the power of creative processes.