continued……..Why Realism?……..part 2.

Bougainvillea Grandeur, North Melbourne

continued……..“Why Realism?” part 2.

This extract continues on, and is part of, a speech given by Frederick Ross whose credentials I outlined in the preceding post. It re-enforces what most of us discern and think, but often are very reluctant to verbalise; mainly because of the challenges, accusations and incriminations (bullying!) directed at us as a result……..refusing to allow us our freedom of opinion and speech. He says –

“The vocabulary of fine art is realistic images which we see everywhere throughout our lives, and its grammar are the rules and skills needed to successfully and believably render the images. These are some of the rules of art grammar which hold together the real objects or vocabulary of the visual language of fine art: finding contours; modelling; manipulating paint to create shadows and highlights with the use of glazing and scumbling that enhance the forms through layers of pigment; use of selective focus; perspective; foreshortening; compositional balance; balancing warm and cool colour; lost and found shapes and lines. Please consider this additional self-evident truth: Even things which are not real such as our dreams and fantasies as well as all stories of fiction… which are not real… are expressed in our conscious and subconscious minds by using real images. Consider that, only real images are used in our fantasies and dreams…none of which look like Modern art. Therefore abstract painting does not reflect the subconscious mind. Dreams and fantasies do that and artwork can also do that, but only by using real images and assembling them in ways that feel like fantasies or dreams.

So, there we have it, the core concept that explains what fine art is. It is a visual language which is capable of expressing the endless range of thoughts and ideas which can also be expressed in great literature and poetry.

However, unlike the hundreds of spoken and written languages, the vocabulary of traditional realism in fine art has something which makes it unique, in one important way………..the language of traditional realism cuts across all those other languages and can be understood by all people everywhere on earth regardless of what language it is they speak or write in. Thus Realism is a universal language that enables communication with all people and to people of all times…past…present…and future.

Modernist and abstract art is not a language. It’s the opposite of language for it represents the absence of language. And the absence of language means the loss of communication. It takes away from mankind perhaps our most important characteristic……that which makes us human…….the ability to communicate in great depth, detail and sophistication.

And in the case of fine arts modernism banished the only universal language that exists…….realism with the techniques and skills required to achieve it. A knowledge which had grown and developed and was carefully documented and preserved as it was passed down for centuries from masters to students. If the truth be known, abstract art is not really even abstract. Let me explain it this way……………..”

(to be continued…………….)