RESHAPING REALISM
American Art Collector|September 2021
Principle Gallery presents the exhibition Disrupted Realism, curated by John Seed, featuring work by artists who are challenging and changing traditional realism.
ROCHELLE BELSITO

When John Seed published his book Disrupted Realism: Paintings for a Distracted World in 2019, he may not have known the true impact it would have in the art industry. In its title, and through the work of 38 painters, he defined a movement that had been taking shape for years—artwork that is pushing boundaries of traditional realism and playing with abstraction, distortion, line, or form.

“The one thing that I always tell people about the book and the idea behind the book is artists make these things happen. As a curator, and in assembling a book, my role is just to be a good observer. I am not in any way initially grouping artists or trends,” explains Seed. “I am asking questions: What am I seeing across the field of art? What are artists trying? What’s working for them?”

The book came from seven years of Seed logging posts online between 2010 and 2017, where he started to notice a recurring theme in contemporary artwork from around the world. Seed says, “It was all over the place. I saw manifestations of artists feeling realism isn’t adequate for what they were wanting to say.”

Disrupted realism is in response to the modern experience, which is filled with technology and moments of time that are gone in an instant. It is a realism that allows the artist to think about what is going on around them and reflect that in their art. The artists, as Seed writes in the book, “may suggest time, memory and individual experience or refer to digital, photographic or cinematic sources. It is a subjective approach that favors perception overseeing and embraces subjectivity.” Every artist is different in their approach, and through their individual ideas, techniques and artistic vision they are adding to the language of realism.

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