Partager l'article



England – London

“When we look at a photorealistic painting, there’s a double image: we see both a painting and an image clearly derived from a photograph. The subject of [Don] Eddy’s painting [Private parking III, 1971, editor’s note], for example, is not a Volkswagen but a photograph of a Volkswagen. The painting corresponds as much to the photograph as to the car.”

L’attribut alt de cette image est vide, son nom de fichier est B46479_DTL1-1-1024x768.jpg.
© Waddington Custot Gallery

Thus, in 1973, Lawrence Alloway highlighted the duplicity of hyperrealist images and cleared up any confusion regarding the photorealist movement that emerged in the United States in the mid-1960s in the wake of pop art: Although it was born in reaction to abstract expressionism and minimalism, and although it aimed for an ultra-minimalist reproduction of reality, it was painting – and, what’s more, painting that could be seen (through brushstrokes or impasto)…

L’attribut alt de cette image est vide, son nom de fichier est B46495-1024x727.jpg.
© Waddington Custot Gallery

A paradox that pleases our gaze, as evidenced by the works of the masters of the genre gathered at the Waddington Custot Gallery: John Baeder, Charles Bell, Tom Blackwell, Davis Cone, Robert Cottingham, Don Eddy, Richard Estes, Ralph Goings, David Parrish, John Salt… all the protagonists of the movement that developed until the late 1980s are present.

Among the highlights are David Parrish’s gleaming Harley Davidson, painted low-angle and tightly framed, John Salt’s car seat with torn silver upholstery, Ron Kleemann’s close-up of a racing car, and Ralph Goings’ almost deceptive still life with ketchup (Still Life [Color Pick], 1982).

L’attribut alt de cette image est vide, son nom de fichier est B46500-1024x706.jpg.
© Waddington Custot Gallery
Beyond illusionism

As in pop art frescoes, recurring motifs include all the products, emblems, and other fetishes of consumer society: neon signs, billboards, storefronts, supermarket shelves, restaurants, gas stations, cars, motorcycles, toys… Favoring reflective surfaces (glass, chrome, leather, or plastic), photorealist painters (who often painted from black-and-white photos) display extraordinary virtuosity in rendering materials and fleeting effects of light and shadow, but also in rendering the detached, flat (monocular) vision of the camera. By shimmering colors (often invented) and altering perspectives, they are a work of composition.

L’attribut alt de cette image est vide, son nom de fichier est B46487-1-960x1024.jpg.
©Waddington Custot Gallery

Despite appearances, far from being carbon copies of photographs, photorealistic paintings are “artistic interpretations.” “I simply use the subject as a starting point to compose the painting,” said Robert Cottingham. Interviewed in 1972, Don Eddy said: “It raises the question of whether you’re looking at an illusion of objects in space or a representation of a flat piece of paper – a photograph – which is in turn a representation of things in space. I’m not really interested in the idea of being photographic or faithful to reality. It’s the references between what we know, what we see, what we think we see, and what is there, between the surface of the canvas and the illusion in the canvas. It seems to me that these are the real problems.”

L’attribut alt de cette image est vide, son nom de fichier est B46499-1024x673.jpg.
©Waddington Custot Gallery

« Picture This – Photorealism 1966-1985 »
Jusqu’au 24 juin 2023
Waddington Custot Gallery
11 Cork Street, Londres (Angleterre)

     Stéphanie Dulout