Realism today comprises a myriad of working styles that derails any effort to define it based on select studio practices—such as whether an artist works primarily from life or from photographs. Nor can realism be equated with an effort to capture exacting detail, which would leave out the probing vision of Degas.
How an artist paints is as important as what he or she paints. Enhance your work with realism, the most indigenous art form, a product of its own time derived from keen observation and direct experience with present reality. The artists featured in this issue fall within this singular vision. Their works are sophisticated images of contemporary city and town life that demonstrate noble study, native talent, and a genuine interest in the people, places, and things in their lives.
Dive into this exciting issue to:
- Explore such artists as Richard Hass, whose trompe-l’oeil building murals have delighted city dwellers for more than a quarter of a century.
- Discover an overview of the artists of the Ashcan School, the fathers of modern realism.
- Find artistic inspiration in the urban landscape—take a look at contemporary painters Greg Gandy, Patrick Pietropoli, and Richard Haas.
- Turn to Taylor Montague, Max Ginsburg, and the late George Tooker, who was best known for his painting The Subway, which presented a haunting vision of urban life and alienation.
- Challenge our assumptions about plein air painting—take a look at the large-scale urban wilderness works of Valerie Larko.
- Focus on city and town life with Weekend With the Masters instructor Dan McCaw, whose tender depictions of solitary figures in familiar environments remind us that we are fragile souls, and even in a crowded town we are apt to feel alone.
Perhaps realism, as exemplified by many of the artists in this issue, can help reawaken us to our surroundings and inspire us to connect with others.