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A Realist Apologia

Many people in progressive circles dismiss illusionistic painting a priori as a serious art form saying it lacks the appropriate abstract and conceptual depth of true cutting edge art. Worse yet, such painting is also thought of as either mere copying or as a second rate redundancy to other superior representational media (photography, video, etc.).

These views are based on the misconception that our experience of visual phenomena occurs only at the ocular level relying on one’s own biological engineered retina or a camera's mechanically manufactured lens. In fact, the so called visual reality we think we observe is actually an abstract mental construct which only exists inside our highly developed, complex brains. It is an abstraction that defies a definitive description in any medium. Subtract the mind from the visual equation and you have nothing.

Illusionistic paintings are by their very natures transcriptions of our world, not copies. When making a realistic rendering an artist must take something that exists in three dimensions and reinterpret it unto a two-dimensional surface using nothing more than a series of colored marks. What could possibly be more abstract and conceptual than that?

Joseph Hronek