SECTIONS: Intimate Oil Paintings
Chicago artist Joseph Hronek creates small-scale, hyper-real paintings that comment on ideas about perception, reality and artifice. Hronek's figurative and "minimalist still-life" paintings draw the viewer close through their intimate associations and extreme level of detail, encouraging a visual re-examination of the quiet and commonplace.
Hronek is known for his fastidious attention to detail, which begins before the painting is actually started. A series of compositional studies on graph paper comprise the first step of a painting's development, followed by further color and value studies on paper. Once the composition has been fully considered, and color relationships have been worked out, Hronek begins the final process of making the painting. This is also accomplished in stages: an imprimatura layer, followed by subsequent passages of ala-prima painting, scumbling, and glazing. The surface of the paintings are lovingly and carefully crafted into being, and this committed approach breathes a sense of life into the objects and figures depicted in the works.
"I believe the act of observational painting is an act of fiction because the painter is taking many separate moments and combining them into one unified moment. While this may seem more apparent when using a model who is constantly in a state of flux (blinking, shifting weight, etc.), the same holds true when observing a still life object. In this case, it's the artist whose psychological makeup and perceptual abilities change from day-to-day. One could take a single object with set lighting and do painting after painting for the rest of one's life and never come up with the same painting. I think all painting rooted in observation has a truly conceptual componant. It all starts in our heads. This is why I have remained fascinated with representational painting over many years. You can never get a complete answer to what human perception is all about."