Thursday, July 11, 2013

Exploring photorealism on canvas

Increasing number of artists who source their inspiration from real-life images resort to fresh idiom for raising issues related to personal or socio-political identities. If a section of them treat their works as a documentation of historical reality in terms of painting and look for clues of social changes, others express the self and record their personal lives with the same technique.

The latter exhibit their personal content and concerns. For example, Atul Dodiya has moved on from his photo- realism of the 1980s to an allegorical dramatization of his dilemmas as a painter in the epoch of installation through a series of oblique self- portraits and witty tableaux. Another case of potent self-representation through a photo installation is ‘Vilas’ (meaning erotic pleasure) by artist Subodh Gupta. Broadly, his painting marries a pop/photorealist style with surrealist touches.

Photorealism on canvas is not exactly a modern trend. Such paintings involve thorough reproduction of details. In painting the results were nearly photographic. Of course, painters had always been working from photographs since the early days of photography. Apart from the US, the Photorealism movement had been strong in Europe, termed as super-realism.

Elaborating on the phenomenon, art historian Dr Alka Pande had mentioned in an insightful essay: “The importance of lens-based work, specifically photography, in the enterprise of finding an interface between documentary ‘evidence’ and the social imaginary is gaining ground in this new age.

"Even for itself, photography may be said to have enlarged its intrinsic value as an art form - of being, as it were, an ‘imprint’ of the real - by entering the expanded frame of installation art, whether this is object-based or sculptural ensemble, or video and new media installation. Thus photography begins to share the peculiarity of the phenomenological encounter that the museum/gallery space encourages.”

1 comment:

  1. Would love to hear about artists in India who do photorealism.