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Art inspired by photography focus of new museum exhibit

Works by more than three dozen artists included in museum's “Photorealism Revisted” exhibit.
BY JOHN BRANDENBURG Published: January 30, 2013

A reliance on photography as a source for painting makes possible a startling and potentially off-putting amount of hyper realistic detail in a new show at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art. But it doesn't prevent the 38 artists in the “Photorealism Revisited” exhibition, organized by International Arts of Memphis, from also creating a surprising subtlety and variety of content in their work.

The 64 works in the exhibit, which includes prints, watercolors and drawings as well as paintings, date from the late 1960s, when the term was coined by gallery owner Louis K. Meisel, to the present.

Anthony Brunelli offers us a slightly elevated view of public buildings on a green square in Binghamton, N.Y., which includes traffic on a highway leading to distant hills, in a large, well-composed 1996 oil canvas.

A strong element of nostalgia for vintage cars and the nocturnally lit marquees of 1930s movies, adds greatly to the appeal of an equally accomplished 2012 oil of “Times Square, 1937,” by Don Jacot.

Reflections in mirrored glass and windows give an impersonal, distanced feel, to two smaller acrylics of people-free street scenes by Richard Estes, known for capturing the “hard-edge quality of urban surfaces,” according to a gallery note.

Combining pedestrians, cars, reflections and tall buildings, with clouds passing over them, masterfully, is a large 2011 oil of “57th Street” by Robert Neffson.

One seems to be looking through arched windows at delicately rendered views of Central Park in winter, spring, summer and fall in “The Seasonal City,” a four-part 2007 acrylic, using air brush and multi-layering, by Don Eddy.

Debris behind a Dumpster contributes to the gritty realism of Randy Dudley's 2005 oil of “Restoration of South Canal St., Chicago,” as does the burned roof of a building in Robert Gniewek's 2004 oil of “Edmond Place, Brush Park.”

Female figurative subject matter provides a refreshing change of pace from all the architectural focus in part of the gallery space devoted to the show. A nude woman appears to be exploring the boundaries of the illusionistic box in which she is seated in a black-and-white 2003 acrylic on wood painting by Spanish artist Bernardo Torrens, to name a case in point.

Oklahoma City artist Dennis James Martin (1956-2001) brings his own kind of magic realism to a 2000 metalpoint of a woman, who seems as precious and mysterious as the gold and platinum materials used to depict her.

Wonderfully cheesy are Hilo Chen's 1976 and 1982 oils of the back side of a glamorous woman bathing and of a topless female, trying to improve her tan at the beach. A beautiful woman meets our eyes with mock alarm as she holds her cheeks in a round 2009 acrylic by Hubert DeLartigue called “OMG!”

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