Realism is defined as a “truthful and objective vision of contemporary life.” The goal of a realist painter is to depict what the eye can see. Not in a photographic sense, but the artist’s realistic take on people and the world. Landscape, of course, takes a place of prominence in such a style. Realist painters often work en plein aire, capturing the ordinary, observable world.
Realism began as a 19th-century French movement, a reaction to the subjectivism and imagination of the romantic era. Courbet considered himself the primary proponent of the style, adamantly stating that “painting is an essentially concrete art and can only consist in the representation of real and existing things.” Painters such as Millet and his colleagues of the Barbizon School withdrew from the “fast lane” of Paris to paint nature directly. The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood of English poets and painters embraced the doctrine of the imitation of nature as the central purpose of art. In their view, artists should seek to represent the natural world and the only great art had been painted prior to the high Renaissance, pre-Raphael. All of this amounts to simply saying: Don’t paint something as beautiful if it isn’t!
Realism is alive and well today in the work of Ruston painters, Albino Hinojosa, Jerry Berg and Peter Jones. The three artists will be presented by LSUA in a show, “Traditions For The 21st Century”. The show will open with a reception on Sunday, February 12th from 2:00pm to 4:00pm at the University Gallery at LSUA.
Albino Hinojosa grew up in Texas and studied art at Texarkana College and East Texas State University. After graduation, he worked as a technical illustrator, receiving numerous honors for his work including two Best of Show awards at the Industrial Art Methods Exhibition in Baltimore. Hinojosa came to Louisiana to teach in 1969, retiring from the faculty of Louisiana Tech University in 2000. He has exhibited throughout the United States and has paintings in numerous private collections, including our permanent collection at LSUA. Since retiring from teaching, Hinojosa has devoted himself to the advancement of the Realism Movement in America and continues to paint from his studio in Ruston.
Jerry Berg works in traditional oils based on the old master techniques and uses wood panel for a higher level of detail. After earning a Master of Fine Art in Visual Communication he started a design firm in San Francisco. Through his expertise in interactive design, Berg was a founding member and Creative Director of Golf Media, Inc., creating CD-ROM and Web sites for major golf resorts, including Pebble Beach and Loch Lomond. He co-founded the marketing and advertising firm of Spark Online, Inc. He has designed online advertising for many Fortune 500 Companies, such as ABC, Buick and Chevy, Chase Bank, and Charles Schwab. Berg is presently a member of the art faculty at Louisiana Tech.
Peter Jones grew up in the artists’ community of Woodstock, New York, with parents who were both painters. After earning the Master of Fine Arts degree at the University of Iowa, Jones turned to realist painting. Prior work had focused on an expressionist style, working from memory. Reaching an impasse, he realized that he could achieve finer results by painting what he saw from real life. Formalism could be achieved through Realism. His principal subject is the still life and its contemporary narrative quality. “The ability of an object to refer to contemporary life as well as the history of painting makes the still life format an especially rich one for me, filled with shifting meanings.” Jones has exhibited throughout the East Coast.
The three artists will each contribute to our show. They often exhibit together, manifesting three different approaches to the same realist style. Each of the artists credits historical painting as inspiration for their contemporary works. Jones moves from the rich shadows of the old masters to the chromatic tones of the Impressionists. Hinojosa stresses composition, beginning his works with a design employing the Golden Proportion Theory. Berg takes delight in the merging of two worlds: composition based on painters of 350 years ago reflected in a strongly present-day work of art.
We invite you to attend the Opening Reception on February 12th to enjoy the beautiful work of these three realist masters. Both Hinojosa and Berg will be at the Opening. Works will be for sale directly from the artists. LSUA welcomes the community to visit us at any time. Much activity is going on at the University and you honor us with your presence. For more information, please contact me at (318) 473-6449.