[Hyper Realism; Super Realism].
Style of painting, printmaking and sculpture that
originated in the USA in the mid-1960s, involving the precise
reproduction of a photograph in paint or the mimicking of real
objects in sculpture. Its pioneers included the painters
Audrey Flack (b
1931), Robert Bechtle (b 1932),
Robert Cottingham (b
1935), Richard McLean (b 1934), Don Eddy and the
English painter John Salt (b 1937), and sculptors such
Duane Hanson and
John De Andrea. Though essentially an
American movement, it has also had exponents in Europe, such
as Franz Gertsch.
Hyperrealism is an emerging school of painting that grew out of
the American school of photorealism. Through counterfeit photographic
imagery, hyperrealist painters routinely create a simulated
two-dimensional image of a three-dimensional reality. Hyperreal paintings
are optically convincing visual illusions of reality based upon reductive
photographic images that initially attempt to represent reality. Hyperreal
paintings create an almost tangible solidity and physical presence through
subtle lighting and shading effects where shapes, forms and areas closest
to the forefront of the image can appear beyond the frontal plane of the
canvas. Hyperrealist painters include Alicia St. Rose, Pedro Campos,
Jacques Bodin, Denis Peterson,
Gottfried Helnwein, Gilles Esnault,
Luciano Ventrone, Latif Maulan, Luding Meng, Glennray Tutor,
Suzana Stojanovic, Bert Monroy (hyperrealist digital painter), and
Ron Mueck (hyperrealist sculptor).
Certain of these hyperrealists have further incorporated social,
cultural and political thematic elements as an extension of a visual
illusion; a distinct departure from the school of Photorealism. Denis
Gottfried Helnwein, and Latif Maulan are three provocative
hyperrealist painters who have depicted the political and cultural
deviations of societal decadence, its enigmatic imagery, and the aftermath
of its tragic, ideological and insane consequences. Thematically, these
controversial artists aggressively confront the corrupted human condition
through narrative paintings as a phenomenological medium. The paintings
are historical commentary on the grotesque mistreatment of human beings.
Peterson’s latest provocative work on human oppressions has focused on
diasporas, genocides and refugees around the globe as a political
statement through visually disturbing and highly charged images that have
recorded an abhorrent period in history that has marked the decadence of
the human condition.
Helnwein developed unconventionally narrative work
centered around past, present and future deviations of the Holocaust and
its grotesque darkness. Maulan’s work is primarily a critique of society’s
disregard for the helpless, the needy and the disenfranchised. These three
hyperrealists have exposed totalitarian regimes and evocatively raised
political and moral conflicts with third world military governments
through narrative and hyperrealistic depictions of the legacy of hatred
and intolerance. Subjects of these iconoclastic artists are often
statuesque figures and stoic faces that eerily seem to share an
internalized calm in the face of the surrounding horrors of deadly
disease, impending torture, terrorizing fear and irrational hatred.
Early 21st century hyperrealism is contrasted with the similarly
literal, photorealistic style found in traditional photorealist paintings
of the late 20th century. Painters in both schools of art make allowances
for some mechanical means of transferring images to the canvas, including
preliminary drawings or grisaille underpaintings. Photographic slide
projections onto canvases and rudimentary techniques such as gridding may
also be used to ensure accuracy. Both styles require a high level of
technical prowess and virtuosity to simulate reality; however, despite any
apparent similarities, the two styles are distinctly apart from one
Photorealist painters tended to systemically imitate photographic
images, often consciously omitting pictorial details, human emotion,
political value and narrative elements. The photorealistic style of
painting is uniquely tight, precise, and mechanical with an emphasis on
mundane everyday imagery.
The more recent hyperrealist style tends to be much more literal as to
pictorial detail with an emphasis on social, cultural or political themes.
This is in stark contrast to the concurrent Photorealism with its
avoidance of photographic anomalies including digital fractalization,
image degradation, and subtractive versus additive color creation, i.e.
CMYK versus RGB color wheels.
As such, hyperrealism incorporates and often capitalizes upon
photographic limitations such as depth of field, perspective and range of
focus to create a new hyperreality.