By Alex Hanton, Bridgette Rowe, and
What is Photorealism?
• Photorealism is a type of extremely detailed
painting made to look like a photograph that
usually depicts man-made scenes and objects.
What is Photorealism? Cont.
• The intention of photorealism is to reflect on
the nature of reality.
– This is done by artists adding their own details and
creating a picture that isn’t what the scene
actually looked like.
• The urban subject matter usually feels shallow
and empty; taunts superficiality.
• Critics think differently.
What is Photorealism? Cont.
• There are various other names for
photorealism. Some of them have slightly
– Hyperrealism: expresses detail that surpasses the
ability of a camera to capture. Changes the
viewer’s perception of reality.
– Sharp Focus Realism
• Not to be confused with Nouveau Réalisme, a
Historical Context for Photorealism
• Similar to that of Pop Art.
• America has increasing media, advertising,
and city life.
– Taunts materialism and shallowness of modern
• Nostalgic over the way things used to be;
small town life.
Origins of Photorealism
• Since cameras are used in the making of
photorealism, high quality cameras made it
• Reaction to abstract expressionism and
– Maintained the detachment of minimalism.
• Many similarities to pop art; however, was not
• Photorealist artists almost always used a
photo/photos to make their painting.
– Most used multiple photos of the same thing; they
chose different aspects from each photo to create an
• Gridding is common
• Artists differ in the speed it takes them to create
their art and the exact methods they use.
• Very different from other photorealists because
he always uses the same subject matter, but
differs in his style of painting.
– His style has evolved through several unique phases.
• Uses gridding entirely.
• Paints only people; self portraits and friends.
• Originally painted abstractly and has now broken
Chuck Close Cont.
Stage 1: Big Self-Portrait, 1968
• Most well known of the photorealists.
• Not very innovative, but very talented.
• Believes realism demonstrates craft; dismisses
• Works very quickly with heavy, unblended
• Cares little for critics.
• Originally a pioneer in photorealism, now
works in metaphysic art.
• Usually paints cars and other urban subjects.
• His paintings, especially recent ones, are very
• Sometimes uses airbrushes and dots like
Bananas, Apples, Avocados, and Tomatoes, 1973
• One of the original photorealists, but differs
from the others by using only one photo.
– This makes his photo exactly lifelike.
– Shows there’s “beauty in the mundane.”
• Paints classic American scenes to create
• Ordinary objects have meaning.
• Not technically a photorealist since he was a
sculptor; made extremely realistic sculptures.
• Most portray middle class Americans and
seem humorous at first; all have a deeper
• Uses materials like bronze and fiberglass.
• Watches live models in his studio to sculpt
• She takes everyday scenes and adds
abnormalities. (usually animals)
• She mixed her interest in pop culture and
commercial picture making strategies.
• She is also an installation artist. (2 months per
• She uses monochromatic or contrasting color
Sandy Skoglund Cont.
Revenge of The Goldfish
· Made in 1981
Sandy Skoglund Cont.
Cats in Paris
· Made in 1993
Reactions and Criticisms
• Very well liked by the public and critics.
• Some say the art lacks and lasting significance;
it’s visually appealing but the meaning is difficult
• Boring, superficial subject matter.
• Extreme detail is interesting, but sometimes hard
to look at.
• Different from many other modern art
movements because of it’s similarity to real life.
Hinweis der Redaktion
Talk about this painting by Alyssa Monks, and explain how it shows the basic characteristics of photorealism. Could also return to title screen and point out basic features in that photo. Discuss how many artists choose to make their photos of people, and man-made objects using coke cans as that example. Elaborate on the points on the screen.
Discuss how superrealism and sharpfocus realism are simply other names for photorealism and really don’t differ in meaning. Elaborate on the detail of hyperrealism, mention there are various other lesser used names for the movement.
Point out the extreme detail of the painting and its HYPERREALISTIC charecteristics
Use this slide to explain similarities between pop art and photorealism.
Elaborate the reasons for and effects of using multiple photographs, and how this contributes to the deeper meaning of photorealism
Explain gridding in greater detail
He maintained constant lighting and shallow depth, always had his friends and self at the same angle and same pose.
Mention he would only use very small amounts of black and white paint. Painted on a very large canvas using an airbrush instead of brushes.
He used the same method of painting but now used only complimentary colors, which he would have to mix and layer to create the color he needed. Later, he would use a pallete of thousands of colors and have to choose the precise one he needed. This was to introduce a new challenge.
Close has become more abstract, using his fingerprints, dots, other materials, etc. to make his art.
Connect to Duchamp
Carries burdens of everyday life; shows how mediocre society is
Portrays ignored domestic women and shows them as someone
Just waiting, existing, passing the time, not really existing
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