Photorealism in a Digital Age II

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MJ Kim, 2013 Oil On Canvas 76 ΒΌ X 51 Inches © Courtesy of the artist & The Bernarducci Meisel Gallery
Photorealism in a Digital Age II

37 West 57 Street 3rd Floor
New York, New York 10019-3411
January 2nd, 2014 - February 27th, 2014
Opening: January 28th, 2014 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Tuesday - Saturday 10:00 am - 5:30 pm


Frank Bernarducci and Louis K Meisel are pleased to present Photorealism in the Digital Age II - a Gallery Group exhibition in of artists included in the publication of Louis K. Meisel’s, fourth and final tome on Photorealism, entitled Photorealism in the Digital Age. The publication is available through Harry N. Abrams Publishers. This exhibition includes many of the artists represented by Bernarducci Meisel Gallery who will be included in the book. The artists include; Luigi Benedicenti, Roberto Bernardi, Hubert de Lartigue, Guz Heinze, Park Hyung Jin, Cheryl Kelley, Peter Maier, Sharon Moody, Randall Rosenthal, Raphaella Spence and Bernardo Torrens

Luigi Benedicenti’s monumentally large scale paintings of pastries and delicacies are striking. They are a mere ode to the artist’s lifelong involvement in a family-run confection wrapper factory. Every single pastry is painted with ample attention to detail. Like the 16th Century Italian painter, Caravaggio, Benedicenti’s work illuminates the contrast between light and dark, or chiaroscuro. Meringhe II is a great example of the artist’s use of the chiaroscuro motif. Each pastry appears to be illuminated with a spotlight on a dark background. 

Roberto Bernardi is most well known for his portrayal of reflections; either in candy wrappers, a bottle of Scotch, or the stainless steel shine of a kitchen utensil. His career has involved three series; paintings of glass, paintings of dirty plates, and currently, paintings of candy. Succulent lollipops wrapped in plastic bearing reflections of light and shadow, chewy gummy candy tattooed with countless grains of sweet sugar, and colorful as well as clear glass containers. 

Hubert DeLartigue is one of the few artists in Photorealism in the Digital Age that utilizes the airbrush technique. His canvases are extremely detailed to the point where they really do look like a photograph. Although oftentimes painting his beautiful bohemian muses whom he encounters in the Parisian underground, he has also painted a series of large scale lips. These lips allude to the “smile” one is coaxed to produce when being photographed. To mimic the effects of a camera, they are cropped and illuminated in such a way that only photography can do. Using high resolution cameras to photograph his compositions, DeLartigue paints these smiles oversize.

Another artist who utilizes the airbrush technique is Bernardo Torrens. His mostly monochrome paintings of Spanish dancers, usually in the nude, are sometimes highlighted by hints of a sapphire blue.Originally a medical student, Torrens realized his deep interest in human anatomy and decided to become a painter instead, dropping out at the tail end of medical school. His choice has proven to be the right one with several notable commissions.

Cheryl Kelley paints classic cars she sees at car shows across the country. Painted in oil on aluminum panel, the cars not only allude to their surroundings in the background but also in the detail of the reflection on their lustrous surfaces. Peter Maier also paints cars, although he has moved on to paint animals as well. His technique includes utilizing a fabricated aluminum panel, over the standard size of 4 x 6 feet. Further customizing his paintings, Maier paints with a custom-made DuPont enamel paint.

Gus Heinze, Robert Neffson, and Raphaella Spence are all cityscape painters but approach their subject in a different way. Heinze searches for scenes filled with detail and a variety of colors, he crops his compositions very intricately. In addition, the artist is very prolific at painting the engines of locomotives. Neffson selects the locations of each city laboriously. He traverses each city for months to find the most intriguing panoramic composition. Most recently he has painted The Metropolitan, a comprehensive look at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s American Wing. Each bronze neoclassical sculpture shines in the light of the sun which creeps in through the greenhouse-like windows of the wing.

Sharon Moody and Randall Rosenthal both attempt to trick us with their artwork. Moody paints trompe l’oeil comic books, splayed open at a tumultuous spread. Each comic book is rendered in the utmost detail - to the point where one wants to lift it off the monochromatic background of the panel it is painted on. Rosenthal’s sculptures are carved by hand out of one block of Vermont White Pinewood. The wood is manipulated by Rosenthal to resemble everyday objects found in homes, boxes of comic books, baseball trading cards, and cigar boxes. Rosenthal also sculpts thousands of dollars bursting out of envelopes and boxes. His rendering of these objects is so realistic that he has had to repair a sculpture or two.

Park Hyung Jin is a photorealist from halfway around the world. Living and working in Seoul, Korea, Jin, as he prefers to be called, uses his painting class students from Seoul University. Each painting is larger than life, some reaching the height of 8 feet. This is challenging as the artist crops each image to only include either part of their face, or obscures a face with long locks of thick dark hair. Nevertheless, each girl is depicted to boldly confront issues such as the fetishization of Asian women as well as expressing her individuality. 

Many of these artists are included in two traveling group exhibitions. One exhibition is traveling Europe and celebrates 50 years of Photorealism, it is entitled “50 Years of Photorealism”. At the moment it is on view at the Birmingham Museum of Art in Birmingham, England (previous venues include the Kunsthalle Tübingen in Tübingen, Germany; Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza in Madrid, Spain; Saarlandmuseum, Sarbrueken, Germany, the exhibition s will continue to the Bilbao Museum of Fine Art, Bilbao, Spain this Fall and Winter).  The second exhibition is entitled “Photorealism Revisited” and was on view at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art as well as the Butler Institute of American Art (Youngstown, OH) earlier this year. It is currently on view, through February 14 at MANA Contemporary Art in New Jersey.