Show Preview | Renaissance of Realism

Denver, CO
Gallery 1261, November 13-December 5

Mia Bergeron, Mutual, oil, 12 x 16.

Mia Bergeron, Mutual, oil, 12 x 16.

This story was featured in the November 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine. Get the Southwest Art November 2015 print issue or digital download now–then subscribe to Southwest Art and never miss another story

Guests attending the Renaissance of Realism National Symposium, held at the Denver Art Museum on the afternoon of November 13 as the inaugural event for Collectors for Connoisseurship—a “national network of collectors and art lovers dedicated to art appreciation and collecting”—receive more than just insights from the renowned artists and experts leading its discussions. (These include Dr. Timothy Standring, curator of the museum’s highly anticipated exhibition Wyeth: Andrew and Jamie in the Studio.) When the symposium wraps up at 5 p.m., attendees are also invited to stroll a few blocks to nearby Gallery 1261 for the opening reception of a show that features 20 top realist painters at work today.

Observes Shannon Robinson, founder and president of Windows to the Divine, the organization behind both the symposium and the show, “There is a resurgence of meaningful art celebrating masterful imagery along with effective skills and concepts. We think realism is going to be a major direction for art in the decades to come.” (Gallery 1261 is also hosting its own separately curated but related Renaissance of Realism show in the rest of the gallery space.)

The paintings on view include pieces from 13 people whom Windows to the Divine has singled out, notes Robinson, as “master artists at the top of their game in the world of realism”—including Scott Fraser, David A. Leffel, Daniel Sprick, Sherrie McGraw, Robert C. Jackson, and Quang Ho. Jackson is especially enthusiastic about his contribution, entitled HOLY GRAIL. The 48-by-16-inch oil depicts stacks of Oreo cookies topped with a goblet of cold milk, typifying his “humorous marriage of traditional realism and the contemporary pop world. I like having fun with a painting,” he says.

David Cheifetz, Changeling, oil, 11 x 14.

David Cheifetz, Changeling, oil, 11 x 14.

The remaining seven works come from those whom Robinson’s organization has dubbed “rising star realists,” younger artists whose works to date show particular promise. One of these, Mia Bergeron, exhibits a figurative piece entitled MUTUAL and feels “hugely honored to be included” in a show that represents “a shift in contemporary art back to a love of representational painting, with a freedom created from decades of abstraction.” Another promising young artist, Gregory Block, displays his still life titled EGYPTIAN TEAPOT, which meticulously depicts that lustrous antique vessel along with broken eggshells and a pair of nearly luminescent raw eggs. He hopes the painting will help illustrate the role that realism can play in “today’s more and more fragmented, scattered, fast-paced culture—to have something that exudes a sense of time and patience and mastery.”

Considering the evident care, effort, and talent these 20 artists have put into their paintings, prices for many of the works are surprisingly modest, ranging from $1,700 to $3,200—although those by some of established masters run well into five figures. “Our mission at Collectors for Connoisseurship,” explains Robinson, “is to inspire a grassroots movement whereby everyone, regardless of financial means, can become a patron of the arts, collecting art for their own personal spaces and thereby supporting the vocation of 
living artists today.” —Norman Kolpas

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Featured in the November 2015 issue of Southwest Art magazine–click below to purchase:
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