May 6-October 23, 1999
Ideas about the nature and look of Modern art have been shaped by critics as wells as by popular culture. For most of the century, “great” Modern art was abstract, nonrepresentational art possessed of neither narrative content let alone recognizable forms. Consequently, artists who attempted to defy that mainstream expectations of Modernism were marginalized, lessor lights. Representational realism was seen as peripheral to the higher fine arts, as mere illustration. In recent years, however, there is a consensus that there is no such thing as a singular, iconic definition of Modernism. Nor is abstraction any longer privileged style. Constructing Realities seeks to challenge the infallibility of any single, definitional perspective on art. Super-realism—a late 20th century style emphasizing pictorial accuracy without particular narrative or storytelling content—utilizes the medium of photography as the basis for developing hyper-accurate images. The works by the Super-realist, often called Photo-realist, artists in this exhibition attempt to define the reality of their age. But they can only suggest that reality in highly subjective. The exhibition asserts that vision is constructed by social and individual context.