Spit and Polish

 I have mused about the cultures that tend to Realism before. The Dutch invented the stock market and still life and exported both to Boston and New York. Academic Realism that Americans preserve from C19 English Empire and C19 French Academies, has the same love of detailed “finish”. . The passion for  accurate detail gave Florence double entry bookkeeping and Botticelli, and America its utilitarianism and Andrew Wyeth. They bring the same aesthetic to the nude as they do to chrome automobiles.

This realisation about the limits of realism came to me in Boston, where gallery after gallery displayed the same, beautifully painted bowl of strawberries on a white plate. The problem was, they were all by different artists. The aesthetics and ethics of mass production! Polished highlights on surfaces everywhere, and the artist has become an interchangeable part.

A similar problem bothers me with the academy drawing. So long  as it is understood from the first mark, that this drawing is a learning experience, not a work of “Art”. The question “What does a nude do?” is followed by ” When is a nude finished?”

Its gratifying to be agreed with. This comment from Brian Froud says he “gets”it. “I’m always amazed when I look at American fantasy art. Its over-rendered. Every surface is shiny so your eye skids off the art. So do your emotions”