You are invited to the opening reception of On Being: Realism and The BGSU School of Art Painting and Drawing Program, curated by Brandon Briggs and Dennis Wojtkiewicz on Friday, August 9, 5-8pm. This exhibition is on view until September 13, 2019. Realism, like nature, persists. All visual art is based in the observed. Nature and perception are the minimally required precepts if one is to “make art”. On a grander scale, realism is fugitive, with the maker towing an ever confusing line between control and chaos not dissimilar from the lines walked by the abstract expressionists of the mid 20th century or even that of contemporary painters of all “isms” attempting to organize the natural world into a cohesive statement on a surface.
With realism the natural world is directly coded into the dramatic narrative of the work, and in nuanced ways abstraction is coded into the unfolding of the painted image. Each of the artists are keenly aware of both their surroundings as subject as well as the nuanced efforts that make for interesting marriages of form and content contained naturally in the painted or drawn surfaces as an expression of both intention and improvisation. Formulas, in other words, will never do. Each of these artists is attempting to make realism new, a way to discover the purposes of the image. What is the place in our mechanized, mass-produced, digital world for such hand-crafted, one of a kind, fiercely analog work. Unlike televisual media (film, television, and social media/net-channel) realism has remained relatively quiet. All of the artists represented seek to find balance inside of the quiet place that realism occupies while acknowledging its historical, social, political, and cultural contexts.