Point of Departure: Five Contemporary Realists

August 30-October 1, 2010

Featured Artists:

  • Philip Jackson
  • Paul LaJeunesse
  • Jason Lewis
  • Christopher Ryan
  • Dennis Wojtkiewicz

One point of departure for the exhibition, Point of Departure: Five Contemporary Realists, is meraviglia—the Italian word for "amazement" or "wonder". It is an art-historical term used to describe the Baroque artistic aim of creating wonder for an audience of viewers through the artful manipulation of materials into convincing displays of realism. In such works, illusionism is countered by a self-conscious reference to the materiality or construction of the image. The resulting tension between realism and artifice produces wonder in the viewer precisely because the image acknowledges itself as a constructed reality, and, ultimately, points to the mastery of the artist.

In this way, the five artists included in this exhibition participate in the spirit of meraviglia, since the intense levels of illusionism in their works persuade viewers of the realities that they have constructed and undoubtedly produce wonder in their audiences. The literal point of departure for the exhibition, however, is Bowling Green State University's 2D Art Program, where four of these artists—Philip Jackson, Christopher Ryan, Paul LaJeunesse and Jason Lewis— performed their M.F.A. studies with the fifth, Dennis Wojtkiewicz. Together, the works of this reunited group emphasize the meticulous craft of draftsmanship and painting for which Bowling Green's program is noted. They also illustrate the contemporary aim of realist painting to challenge viewers to probe beneath surface realities and to discover the layers of signification that inform the making process and final product.

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