For centuries, people have admired artists’ magical ability to depict reality—the virtuoso dab of paint that becomes a pearl in a Vermeer painting, for example. What is realism in the 21st century, when our world has taken on a virtual as well as physical dimension? Real and HyperReal contrasts traditional realism rooted in careful observation of our immediate, visible world with new riffs on realism that mirror the expansive realities of the information age. The “real” illusionism of painters such as Sandow Birk, Llyn Foulkes, Tino Rodriguez, and Paul Wonner is juxtaposed with two “hyper-real,” monumental installations by new-media artists Mark Hansen and Ben Rubin (who use live, streaming text pulled from Internet chat rooms in The Listening Post, just back from an extended European tour) and Catherine Wagner (who explores magnetic resonance imaging in Pomegranate Wall). This exhibition asks you to question the ambiguous line between fact and fiction, between illusion and reality today.
Yvonne and Mike Nevens