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Recap: artists studied under Realism

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1. SUPER REALIST ARTISTS Richard Estes, Audrey Flack, Duane Hanson

3. Realism & Super realism REALISM Like pop art, Realist artists aimed to bring the real world into art ? more accessible Non-idealised view of world Suggests psychological states – often loneliness / isolation Sense of detachment Use traditional painting media (oil, watercolour, plaster) SUPER REALISM / PHOTOREALISM /HYPERREALISM Based on the camera’s vision ? so works often cropped, or show a shallow depth of field Interest in reflections, signs Illusion v. reality Everyday, Real-life subjects Often use modern methods (photography, airbrushing, polychrome)

4. Richard Estes ‘Supreme Hardware’1974 Comment on Estes’s choice of subject How does this work differ from Edward Hopper’s Gas above? Use 4 adjectives to describe Estes’s style To what extent does this capture reality?

5. Richard Estes, Telephone Booths 1967 What is the subject / setting? Style: Comment on the composition Use of light Use of signage? Form – how does he create a play between the real / illusion of real? Effect of whole on mood? To what extent does this show reality?

6. Summary – Richard Estes Method Uses several photographs as source Oil / brush – does not blend edges, works quickly – brushstrokes are visible Closest viewing distance is 1m from canvas (unusual) Subjects Unpopulated City scenes Gleaming reflective surfaces Works have a timeless quality – not a specific time of day Style Modern trompe l’oeil No single vanishing point – invites eye to scan the image Blurs reality with illusion Ordered compositions Geometric, abstract quality to forms “Painting is not done with one’s emotions, it is done with the head.”


8. Genre used by Flack: Vanitas Symbolic Still Life ptgs 17th C Dutch artists Theme – Transience. Life is brief & death is coming soon. Nothing lasts. Vanitas = vanities of life, e.g. things that give us pleasure now will eventually wither away.

9. Audrey Flack, Marilyn Vanitas 1977 2.43 m x 2.43 m How does the SIZE of the work make a statement? Media - What effect does the airbrushing in this image have? Composition - Are the objects randomly arranged or carefully composed? Analyse the iconography in this work – discuss the meanings of at least 3 motifs What do you think the theme of this work is?

10. Flack’s Marilyn Vanitas 1977 Colours of rose, fruit– more vivid than real life. Super real. Forms: Pear – relates to the ultra- feminine body shape – pear like. Narrow waist, large hips. Idealised, air brushed – like advertising. Iconography: Conventional Vanitas elements show passing of time and aging (candle, hour glass, watch, fruit). Ie. A woman’s beauty does not last forever and Marilyn’s life was over too soon. (“a candle in the wind”!) Her smiling face/candle- emotive effect of her tragic death. Mirror image and make up– also suggests the performance of “femininity”. Tools women use to become glamourous. Theme - suggests glamour and ‘beauty’ is artificial, impermanent & superficial.

11. Audrey Flack’s Kennedy Motorcade 1964 This work is much earlier than the Marilyn Vanitas paintings. What is SIMILAR about the subject matter / theme? What is DIFFERENT about the style?

12. Audrey Flack Queen , 1976 (2m x 2m) Identify and explain the iconography in this work How would you describe Flack’s style + its effect? To what extent could this be considered a Feminist work?

13. Iconography in ‘Queen’ Shows Queen of Hearts card and Chess Queen – although a powerful piece, in Chess, the woman’s destiny is controlled by the male King Double portrait of Flack + mother – shows relationship / aging. Inclusion of personal elements is a feature of feminist art. Emotive. Lipsticks, cosmetics – masquerade of femininity Mirror in background – the ‘surface’ nature of make-up. Our obsession with creating an image for the world. Fruit / orange – fertility, women’s cycle but also things that die.

14. Summary – Audrey Flack Method Organises objects to make modern still lifes Photographs 100s and then chooses one Projects slide onto canvas and paints using airbrush, masking tape around each object Use of airbrush – commmercial medium a challenge to high art Style Exploits photographic vision – contrast between sharp / soft focus. Often no single focal point. Very large scale Vibrant colours Complex symbolism from everyday objects Emotionally charged – unlike other Realists who are cool / detached Some works have feminist subject matter, some personal, others political

15. Audrey Flack’s interests From your American Art Reader page 73 Her works often deal with human desire for luxury and adornment: Flack says “whether you’re putting on a mudcake or lipstick from Bloomingdales, it’s all part of a very human instinct, and it’s important that it’s seen.” Her Vanitas paintings: chose images that relate to human tragedy e.g. Marilyn, fate, war. Flack says “I think all three paintings are a protest. They are saying fight back…” The objects “all suggest the ephemerality of living things. She does so because she seeks to make the subject matter as well as the style of her work accessible to all.”


17. An early work: Bowery Derelicts 1969 Hanson’s work began as a form of strong social protest. Bowery Derelicts shows homeless people lying in a rubbish scattered alley of New York’s infamous Bowery district. Vietnam Scene 1969 showed Vietnamese war dead Riot 1967 - white policemen beating up black protesters during race riots in Georgia.

18. Queenie II 1988 & Supermarket Shopper 1970

19. ‘Supermarket Shopper is a humourous embodiment of conspicuous consumption. Hanson: ‘She began my satiric period. She is a symbol of the over consuming housewife.’ Instead of living, Hanson’s shopper is just existing, Rich enough to afford all the products television commercials have sold her as symbols of the good life, she remains a spiritual pauper.” Which POP ARTIST does Hanson resemble in his ideas? (William Fleming, Arts & Ideas. American Art Reader p116)

20. “Ordinary people with great dignity” Comment on Hanson’s choice of subjects, poses. What mood is conveyed? Is Hanson successful in terms of his quote? How would a viewer respond to these in a gallery setting?

21. Hanson’s method He first perfected his working method in 1965 Each was originally cast from living models who were shaved & greased with vaseline He made silicone rubber moulds of each section of the body after another Plaster moulds then applied over that Then vinyl casts made from this Soldering irons used to melt vinyl together Each body part was reassembled, coloured by hand using air brush and oil paint Human or synthetic hair was attached strand by strand by sewing into the scalp Figures were clothed – usually polyester or other ‘typical’ chain-store clothing used.

22. Summary – Duane Hanson SUBJECTS Real, ordinary people made to look totally life like – blurs illusion and reality Viewer becomes a voyeur Blue collar Americans, e.g. cleaners, shoppers Mood – jaded, disillusioned, bored, alienated Some scenes set in galleries – raise questions on how we relate to art, and how art comments on society POINTS OF DIFFERENCE Not as detached as other super realists – interested in the subject’s emotion Some works convey social comment on the consumer driven society, poverty, vulgarity of middle class life, capitalism Sense of compassion / involvement in lives of subjects Shows a love-hate relationship with American culture / life

23. QUIZ on Realism & Super realism Write down the names of… Two ARTISTS / WORKS whose work often shows loneliness or isolation of Modern day American life Two WORKS that show a blurring between illusion and reality Two ARTISTS/WORKS that comment on political or social issues Two ARTISTS who use commercial or modern methods to create their works TWO ARTISTS who do NOT paint landscapes TWO WORKS that show a celebration of everyday American life TWO WORKS which contain complex iconography

24. References / image sources

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