This work sits on the extreme far side of the scale from my March 25 blog, but still constitutes ‘abstract realism’. Again quoting Ms. Reoch, “Their (photographers) choice of compositional angles and the editing process creates a new image or piece of art out of the real-life image, abstracting reality.” Let me address both the perspective and the editing.
In the example offered by today’s work, perspective is less a question of view point and more of subject. The original image is nothing more than an undressed mannequin bust in a display window outside a Victoria’s Secret store, unadorned in every way. Both the interior and exterior have their own light source. It’s a straight-on capture of a hole in a wall with a female bust inside, the curves of the bust and the square of the window providing contrast. Using Ms. Reoch words once more, “Realism attempts to capture real life moments in time, an image and the personality of individuals or objects who resemble real life.” The capture is real to the point of ordinary – even clinical. (It could be argued that the very clinical nature of the capture is its own abstraction, as though reality and abstraction are not a linear scale but a circle that meets back on itself).
Editing began with Camera RAW to correct the white balance polluted by florescent lighting, then progressed to more clearly defining the edges of the window, its frames, and the bust within. Hue and saturation provided the answer for to adding color where little existed. From there the work diverged into filtering three separate canvases; the first two, one for the frame and one for the bust, required high magnification to apply edits at the pixel level. A third canvas provided a master to form a composite. Special lighting was added to the window interior to create a more contrasting background for the bust, as well as to add additional, subtile color. Final filtering to assure that all pieces harmonize together. The final impression, I think, implies a constrained sexuality, one that outwardly conforms to boundaries but becomes more erotic the deeper it is pursued.
Search for ‘abstract realism’ on-line and a number of artists and definitions arise, although it has yet to have its own Wikipedia page, suggesting that awareness of it is just emerging, nonetheless. But I’m especially taken with Ms. Reoch’s description because it includes its expression through photographic captures (please note that I did not say ‘photography’ – another point for a future blog). The use of the camera and the computer as a medium for creating art is one that still generates angst among many traditional artist collectives, threatened by the use of anything other than a brush or a pencil. Within the art world, indeed any world, angst generates politics. Dread politics. And that, my friends, will be the next blog.
All my life I have had to learn to do things differently. To see the world differently.