Beyond the Lens: Photorealist Perspectives on Looking, Seeing, and Painting

Chevys, Bertrand Meniel

Some artists aim to immortalize awe-inspiring scenes. Not Robert Bechtle (1932-2020). Instead, the California-born painter depicted gray-haired ladies admiring roses, gangly children posing beside a Chevrolet Nova, and other exemplars of what art critic Peter Schjeldahl once described as “middle-class ordinariness.” But more than his subject matter, Bechtle was known for his execution. As one of the earliest Photorealists, he captured every last detail with an almost pathological meticulousness. You can witness this painstaking attention to detail during Beyond the Lens: Photorealist Perspective on Looking, Seeing, and Painting. Opening to the public at Asheville Art Museum this September, the group exhibition features 20th- and 21st-century representations of Photorealism: a genre that, according to advance press, “embarked on a new way of seeing and depicting that relied on taking the photographic image, quite literally, as the starting point in the world…” Museum visitors can expect to see hyper-realistic paintings of cherry lollipops wrapped in crinkly cellophane, ferry terminals ablaze with glinting stainless steel, the stormy streets of east Texas, and everything in between.    

Through February 5, 2024

Appleby Foundation Exhibition Hall  /  Asheville Art Museum  /  2 South Pack Square, Asheville  /

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