Highly rendered representational art invites the viewer to spend time with a subject or scene as the artist has. We are given an opportunity that we might not otherwise have to look deeply into a character, to appreciate scenes and objects of beauty, to challenge ourselves to see that from which we might otherwise look away.
When artists draw or paint someone or something they love, it might be an act of honoring or paying respect. An artist might also choose to encounter or confront that which he or she finds repellant. Or, an artist might choose something completely random to study, in order to highlight its worthiness due to the simple fact that it exists, presenting an aspect of life or society that is normally overlooked.
The prolonged attention required for detailed representation can open the artist to a deeper relationship with the subject, and the resulting piece can document that relationship in a way that a photograph might not. Every aspect of the subject comes to us through the artist’s concentrated observation. We sense the hours of focused attention and are challenged to see with similar attention and observation.
Featured: The Artist in HIs Studio by Jan Vermeer.