What is the point of a super realistic painting?
It gives you the same picture a camera would, but takes a ridiculous amount of time, effort and money to complete.
When you walk into the spacious room your eyes are met by those of hard workers. The usually faceless people who do countless things we couldn’t live without have their eyes firmly set on you. These faces have not been captured in a snap shot, but have rather been put together like a galaxy that’s coloured in one star at a time. Helena Hugo has taken these faces and made them so much more than reality could. When you get closer to the surface of the painting (the exhibition is aptly entitled ‘Surface’) they become a compilation of tiny lines and layer upon layer of colours, but from far away the eyes stare at you and ask for recognition.
I bought a pack of postcards with some of the paintings on them at the exhibition. If you’d like, I could send you one. Just leave your postal address in the comments section and I’ll send you one (with love) as soon as I have a stamp.
Here is what the Facebook invite for the exhibition had to say:
Acclaimed for photorealistic portrait interpretations, Helena Hugo has an exceptional technique, combining pastel with high gloss enamel. She also creates monochrome oil paintings that resemble charcoal drawings, which form a contrast with the colourful surfaces of her pastel drawings.
The artist’s inspiration arises from her interest in physiognomy, an assessment of a person’s character or personality from his outer appearance, especially the facial area. She explores the preconceived ideas the viewer might experience when studying a portrait of an unfamiliar person. Unavoidable opinions and judgements might be made about the subject’s appearance, gender or race. She has always been fascinated by the idea that her photorealistic painting technique looks beyond the surface of a face to achieve a deeper understanding of the character of the subject. Her aim is to reveal the character of a person and not only a rendering of the surface of the face.
Through this exhibition, Helena Hugo travels as much on a journey of self examination as on a journey to examine the attitude of the society in which she finds herself. She invites us as viewers to join her on this quest and to explore with her our prejudices and our assumptions about appearances which may still influence our opinions of people today. ”