Painting is the passage from the chaos of the
emotions to the order of the possible.
Before studying art formally my interest was in the figure whether Rembrandt, Giacometti, or De Kooning. Studying at PAFA I began to focus more on realism, gaining a new appreciation for still life. A single green apple on a marble ledge by Arthur DeCosta, hung in a faculty show, opened the door with that hypnotic painting. There seemed to be something meaningful and worthwhile in paying attention to the physical world around me, even a humility. Often times, in a meditative state, it almost seemed as if I was subconsciously praying to the apple or pear I was painting.
Why is the reflection of a lemon on a silver plate by Zurbaran so moving?
I don’t think I could ever leave realism behind. A face, your face, is important, as important as any imagined secret behind our visible reality. Yet painters like Velazquez and Rembrandt can tie together in a painting both the surface and depth of a person, or in Chardin’s case, in a basket of plums, the sense of time and timelessness.
Realism is not a comment on art. It’s not putting together the pieces that cubism broke. It is an artist’s personal interaction with the world around them.