Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester

Rochester, NY



New Realism for a New Millennium

December 12, 1999 - January 30, 2000


Perfect, ripe tomatoes an a vine tumble over a weatherbeaten trunk.... Skeins of wool in rich earth tones hang against a wall.... A woman stands, lost in thought, in a drab but meticulously rendered bedroom....

As we bid farewell to the century that gave birth to abstraction, another quiet rebellion is brewing. No, these are not paintings by 17th-century Dutch masters. They're works by a new generation of artists who are puffing their own spin on realism. Today's realists are signaling a return to values rejected by the abstract, minimalist and conceptual art movements that have dominated much of our century. They're bringing back the art of fine draftsmanship and showing new respect for shape, color and proportion. In the process, they're using such classic genres as the landscape, the still life and the portrait to pose important questions about contemporary life.

left to right: Anthony Ackrill, Tomatoes (1997). Courtesy Grenning Gallery, Sag Harbor, NY.; Maureen Brilla, The Annunciation (1999). Courtesy Oxford Gallery, Rochester, NY.; Steven Brown, Green Olives (1998). Courtesy Forum Gallery, New York City.; Marc Dennis, Picasso Defining Cubism with a Rabbit (1999). Courtesy of the artist.

left to right: Daniel Graves, The Poet (1993). Courtesy Elizabeth Webb Fine Arts, Atlanta, GA.; Christine Henehan, The One in Nine? A Self-Portrait (1993). Courtesy the artist.; Charles S. Jarboe, Tree Silhouettes under a Quarter Moon (1998). Courtesy Tatistcheff & Co., New York City.; Alan Magee, Luftpost (1998). Courtesy Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York City.

New Realism for a New Millennium, opening December 12 at the Memorial Art Gallery, showcases works from the last decade by 41 artists born mainly after World War II. Some are properly called photo-realists, while others use techniques best described as "painterly." Some expand the meaning of realism to include elements of magic, allegory and the surreal. But in every case, we're left with little doubt about the identity of the objects depicted. The exhibition remains on view through January 30.

left to right: Richard Maury, Another Room (1994). Courtesy John Pence Gallery, San Francisco.; Brice Miller, Jacob's White Rooster (1999). Courtesy Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York City.; Gerardo Pita, Hanging Wool with Spool. Courtesy Hollis Taggart Galleries, New York City.; James Valerio, Self-Portrait at Window (1997). Private collection.

left to right: Patricia Watwood, The Boxer (1999). Courtesy Island Weiss Gallery, New York City.; Fred Wessel, Predella (Artichoke Flower of Assisi). Courtesy Sherry~French Gallery, New York City.; Will Wilson, Starfish (1996). Courtesy the artist and John Pence Gallery, San Francisco.

New Realism for a New Millennium is sponsored by the Canandaigua Wine Company and The Chase Manhattan Bank

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