Hyperrealism focuses on the visual reality and beyond, standing as a strong alternative to the conceptual art which is so dominant within contemporary art practice, hyperrealism satisfies the visual needs of the viewer. Artists of this genre examine and respond to reality in very specific ways, acknowledging the camera as a tool, and answering to the possibilities it offers to capture an instant in time, and the magic of that moment. The attention to detail, immense precision and amount of skill that goes into these works of art is reflected through the monumentality and diverse subject matter present in these paintings. At times, it can prove almost beyond our visual ability.
Isy Brachot coined the term Hyperrealism in the seventies to describe the rebirth of the acute realism appearing in sculpture and painting. The style of art work does not only describe a method of painting but lends its hand to other mediums mainly drawing and sculpture. Building on the work of photorealists (a genre of art which emerged in America and Europe in the 1960’s where by an artist rejected the painterly qualities which characterised individual artists in the past and instead strove to create pictures that looked photographic), the Hyperrealist art movement rapidly evolved in the early 2000s. Today it is a thriving as these artists are able – and continue – to achieve the illusion of sharp, almost photographic art work thanks to all the advancements in digital technology and software as well as tools such as air brushes and the best materials.
Unlike photorealist painters, the hyperrealist uses the digital photograph solely as a reference rather than taking a literal approach and imitating every detail. Classic characteristics featured in these artworks are heightened clarity - textures, reflections, lighting effects and shadows are far more distinct than the reference material or even the actual subject. The artworks (specifically paintings) are usually larger than life, often due to the way in which the artists transfer their initial photographic study and project their images.
In our contemporary society it is to be admired when such artists create hand- made artworks of a photographic quality. We are saturated with technological shortcuts and are continually pressurized by time constraints, yet these masters have the time, patience and drive to produce such a specific and unique style of work to a mesmeric standard of excellence.