Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting
Produced by David J. Wagner, L.L.C.
Throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, cars and motorcycles have not only been ubiquitous on the nation’s streets and highways, but also in film, top forty hits, and in painting. With the emergence of photo-realism in the 1960’s, motor vehicles assumed a special place of distinction as subject matter in the iconography of American art.
LUSTER: Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting, is a traveling museum exhibition comprised of over 50 paintings by 15 of today’s realists and hyperrealists who specialize in automobiles and motorcycles as their primary subject of choice. Exhibiting artists include (in alphabetical order): A.D. Cook (Las Vegas, NV), Randy Ford (Eastampton, NJ), Allan Gorman (West Orange, NJ), Marc G. Jones (Loveland, CO), Cheryl Kelley (Northern California), Richard Lewis (Los Angeles, CA), Lory Lockwood (New Orleans, LA), Sheryl Luxenburg (Ottawa, ON, Canada), Robert Petillo (Hardyston, NJ), Kris Preslan (Lake Oswego, OR), Joseph Santos (Buena Park, CA), Ken Scaglia (Weston, CT), John E. Schaeffer (La Grange, TX), Guenevere “MotoPainter” Schwien (Portland, OR), Brian Tull (Nashville, TN), and Harold Zabady (Camp Hill, PA). Their work exemplifies the very best of automotive painting being done today, and builds on that of the first wave of photo-realists in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, which included the likes of Harold Cleworth, Don Eddy, Richard Estes, and Ralph Goings.
LUSTER encompasses a broad range of cars and motorcycles from vintage vehicles to classics of the 1940’s and after. When U.S. car sales stagnated from market saturation in the 1940’s, General Motors President and CEO, Alfred P. Sloan, Jr., suggested that design changes occur annually to drive new sales. The upshot for automotive design was that old, open-top runabouts and touring cars were phased out and design elements such as running boards and headlights were gradually integrated into the car body. With cheap gas, post-war boom years, and the advent of the Interstate Highway System in 1956 during the Eisenhower administration, American automotive design – and sales – flourished. In the 1950s, the industry reached new heights by offering consumers increased horse power for speed, and more artfully, integrated design which was dramatized in the 1960’s with features such as tail fins. LUSTER features paintings of automobiles from those boom years, but also from years before and since, as well as road and track racing vehicles, off-road vehicles, and much more, not the least of which, are motorcycles.
Like the shiny automobiles and motorcycles portrayed by the exhibition’s artists, the exhibition’s paintings can be characterized by the luster that permeates their imagery.
Chrome ornamentation and trim together with enameled bodywork, glass, rubber, and interior fabrication to meet the needs of purpose-built vehicles of all sorts: these are the surfaces which recent realists and hyperrealists have exploited to generate true, virtuosic masterpieces.
Serving as Curator for LUSTER Realism and Hyperrealism in Contemporary Automobile and Motorcycle Painting is David J. Wagner, who earned his Ph.D. in American Studies and served as a museum director for 20 years.
For exhibition venues and dates, visit: davidjwagnerllc.com/Luster_Exhibition.html
Museums interested in displaying LUSTER, may contact:
DAVID J. WAGNER, L.L.C., EXHIBITION TOUR OFFICE
(414) 221-6878; firstname.lastname@example.org; davidjwagnerllc.com
American Alliance of Museums; International Council of Museums
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