This exhibition (co-sponsored with the Emery Community Arts Center) features artworks that engage the legacy of realism in the 21st century, continuing, complicating, or contesting this tradition. Accounts of western art history often emphasize the political significance of realism’s commitment to depicting “ordinary life” in a “naturalistic” way. Historical realism thus reflects a certain consensus around the meanings of nature, the ordinary, and the real. How do we imagine the real and its politics today? What does traditional realism still have to offer? Who determines which realities count as real? Whose perspective is reflected in the depiction of “ordinary life”? How is our perception of nature and of others limited (or expanded) by aesthetic convention? How might realities of abstract, non-visual or non-static experience enrich our understanding of realism or the real? The works featured in the exhibit grapple with these vital questions in our contemporary context.
The opening of this event will be hosted in Emery Community Art Center’s Flex Space Gallery, University of Maine at Farmington, on Friday, September 3 from 4 to 7 pm.