I am proud to announce that my painting, "Eschaton" (at left) has been included as a finalist in the 2012-13 Art Renewal Center Salon.
That's the main news. I'm very happy about the recognition. What is this salon, though? It may be new to you.
The Art Renewal Center has long been a favorite destination of mine for inspiration, gathering the finest in classical painting over the past centuries, and continuing their support forward to the present-day, recognizing contemporary artists pushing the boundaries of skill, emotion and vision. They've advanced the value of objective aesthetics with the understanding that subjective appreciation still applies.
A few years ago, they began a juried "salon" which results in an annual catalog, cash prizes, purchase awards, and promotion of contemporary works on their site. It's always been a refreshing reminder that not everything in the modern art world is silliness. Through their own lectures and efforts, they've championed classical aesthetics in a tone I might not go full on-board with, while largely sympathizing with much of the underlying philosophy. Nevertheless, I am happy to have them as co-belligerents, and I do believe organizations like theirs have resulted in a sort of renaissance of classical methods and atelier training, which I wish I had been a beneficiary of 20 years ago.
But what of this genre I work in? In recent years it has acquired the category name of, "Imaginative Realism," a title which does no violence to the genre while sounding respectable enough to the cultured ear. I've often said that my genre is the bottom of the barrel in terms of cultured art, or rather that it is regarded as such. I would argue that there are many works produced from its ranks that can stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the best of any genre. And there is plenty of schlock. But it would be like denigrating our best landscape painters because thrift store landscapes exist and inhabit the same genre. In our minds, we rightfully chop off the worst from consideration, and weigh the best against the best. Except for Imaginative Realism, which is often left out of consideration at all, by many organizations and almost all museums and galleries.
For this reason, I have been extremely excited to see recent trends beginning to show the stirrings of change. A year ago, the Allentown Art Museum hosted an exhibit of Imaginative Realist works, from classic illustration to works produced in the past couple of years. IlluXCon now has among its jury members leadership from not only Allentown but also the Delaware Art Museum. And now, the Art Renewal Center has opened its doors to us as well, creating a category for us to participate in its annual salon.
What was interesting was seeing works from genre artists spread not only within the defined category, but spilling into other categories, as well. Because this genre at times touches upon portraiture, figure painting, landscape, wildlife art...almost anything. I've also said for a long time that the best in this field are in my opinion the best in *any* field, simply because the visual breadth necessary encompasses all fields of representational art. The best fantasy artist (to revert to the vernacular) will be a stellar portraitist, figure painter, landscape painter, architectural painter, and wildlife painter...all in the same painting at times. And then throw in the imaginative aspects which don't actually exist! Compare that to someone who spends their entire life only painting portraits (worthy and appreciated as that is).
Do check out the salon results, and if you are the type who enjoys collecting art books and catalogs, order one from them. It would be a wonderful show of appreciation for their support for us, and you would get a 200 page catalog with incredible art from across the full gamut of representational painting. You can't go wrong if you love art.
Did I mention that Eschaton is included in the catalog? Well, all the more reason to pick one up!