A Brush with the Real: Figurative Painting Today

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9781780672830: A Brush with the Real: Figurative Painting Today
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Why painting today? In the digital age, with its powers of instant recall and infinite reproduction, why are we witnessing an unprecedented revival of figurative painting?

A Brush with the Real presents a survey of key contemporary artists who have each embraced painting and are working within a realist tradition. Through individual interviews the book peers into the life and work of each of these artists, discussing their methods, motives, and sources, from art history to the internet and the language of film. The book celebrates the work of 51 artists who are each taking the medium in a new direction: from those who work with appropriation and found images, to those trying to get as close as possible to contemporary reality and first-hand experience, to artists who are simply using painting as a door to parallel or imaginary worlds.

The book makes the argument that, since perhaps the early Renaissance, the role fulfilled by painting has never been so vital or timely: in our image-saturated culture, digital technology has given painting and its slow, full-resolution images a new lease of life.

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About the Author:

Margherita Dessanay graduated from the University of Cagliari with a degree in the History of Art before studying for an MA in Contemporary Art Theory at Goldsmith's, University of London. She writes regularly for Elephant magazine and has co-written a number of books, including It's A Stick Up! and Stencil Republic.

Marc Valli is the founder of the retail and book-selling company Magma as well as the magazines Graphic and Elephant. His books include RGB: Reviewing Graphics in Britain, Walk the Line and Microworlds (also with Margherita Dessanay).

From Booklist:

*Starred Review* In the age of smartphones, everyone is a photographer, and images are rampant. So why do artists still paint? Why do we still love to look at paintings? And why is figurative painting thriving all around the world? Valli and Dessanay address these questions with stimulating acuity, analyzing the power of the human touch and the humanizing eye. Unlike the throwaway images that incessantly come and go on our screens, paintings have presence and substance and deep roots in art history. The figurative tradition is attaining new levels of complexity and daring in the twenty-first century in dynamic response to the digital photo explosion. In this unique book’s magnificent array of figurative paintings by 51 artists from around the world, each artist’s comments about his or her work accompany multiple examples, all very recent, some painted from life, many appropriating mass media images, and others offering futuristic imaginings. Here are the French painter Guillaume Bresson’s Tintoretto-inspired, intricately choreographed scenes of street violence; Australian Jeremy Geddes’ photorealist yet surreal paintings of astronauts falling into urban settings; the highly expressive sociopolitical portraits of Lebanese artist Ayman Baalbaki; the paintings of everyday life by Chinese painter Liu Xiadong; and American artist Amy Bennett’s dramatic and mysterious landscapes. In all, an extraordinarily gorgeous and provocative art book inviting repeated immersions. --Donna Seaman

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Dessanay, Margherita, Valli, Marc
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