Reference Library: Photorealism
:This article is about the art movement. In computer graphics, the phrase "photorealism" is used to describe photorealistic rendering of scenes.
'Photorealism' is the genre of resembling a photograph, generally in a hyperrealistic motif. In art, the term is primarily applied to paintings from the photorealism art movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
As a full-fledged art movement, photorealism sprang up in the late 1960s and early 1970s in America and Europe (where it was also commonly labeled superrealism, new realism and hyperrealism) and was dominated by painters. Louis K. Meisel was the first to name the movement Photorealism and has written many of the major books on the subject. The first generation of American photorealists includes such painters as Richard Estes, Robert Anderson, Phillip Pearlstein, Denis Peterson, John Mandel, Dennis Martin, Robert Bechtle, Audrey Flack, Robert Cottingham, Don Eddy, Ron Kleemann, Tom Blackwell, Charles Bell, Chuck Close, John Kacere, David Parrish, Ralph Goings, Richard McLean, John Salt and Ben Schonzeit. Duane Hanson was a rare exception of a photorealistic sculptor, famous for his amazingly lifelike painted sculptures of average people, complete with simulated hair and real clothes. Often working independently of each other and with widely different starting points, photorealists often tackled mundane or familiar subjects in traditional art genres--landscapes (mostly urban rather than naturalistic), portraits, and still lifes.
Photorealists very consciously took their cues from photographic images, often working very systematically from photographic slide projections onto canvases and using techniques such as gridding to preserve accuracy. The photorealist style is tight and precise, often with an emphasis on imagery that requires a high level of technical prowess and virtuosity to simulate, such as reflections in specular surfaces and the geometric rigor of man-made environs.
Although predominantly an American movement, in the early 2000s a group of European Photorealist artists began to emerge, including Clive Head, Steve Whitehead, Raphaella Spence, Bertrand Meniel and Roberto Bernardi amongst others. Although each of them uses photographs and the American tradition of Photorealism as a starting point, they often also draw on the longer European tradition of art, incoporating references to historic paintings in their work.
The movement continues in America as well with the Louis K. Meisel Gallery focusing predominantly on Photorealism. The gallery publishes a collection of artists' work, the latest being "'Photorealism at the Millenium'" which covers the past decade of the main Photorealists' work. Though the movement is primarily based in New York and Los Angeles, artists such as Glennray Tutor are making a name for it in the American South.
20th century photorealism can be contrasted with the similarly literal, hyperrealistic style found in ''trompe l'oeil paintings of the 19th century. However, trompe l'oeil'' paintings tended to be carefully designed, very shallow-space still-lifes with illusionistic gimmicks such as objects seeming to lift slightly from the painting. The photorealism movement moved beyond this double-take illusionism to tackle deeper spatial representations (e.g. urban landscapes) and took on much more varied and dynamic subject matter.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Photorealism".