This show presents the artist’s ongoing exploration of
the multi-dimensional evolution of realist painting. First generation
photo-realists who hit their stride in the late 1960’s
were born mainly before 1940 (Bechtle, Cottingham, Goings, etc.).
Michael Beck was born in ’43 and at the outset continued
on the paths they forged and participated in shows with them.
Apart from this first group, and in an effort to synthesize
realist traditions, Beck began ten years ago to simplify his
and produce work that serves to raise question about the make-up
of traditional still life and landscape painting - within the
context of realism. Beck is aware of movements and players,
from tromp l’oeil and neo-classism to a distinction between
realism and photo-realism; he appreciates the impact of video
and digital art. He also considers influences on the genre
by its proponents as well as unlikely candidates such as Warhol
All the subjects in this exhibition, single items painted to-scale,
are peculiar objects Beck finds at flea markets or thrift shops.
Unrecognized, they prompt viewers to search for identity and
for a personal connection with the objects. Good realist painting
requires a level of virtuosity. Beck goes beyond this element
in that these works ponder history and transitions in realism
and the framework in which they’re presented. Unanticipated,
they also allow for a more personal, connected experience.
Beck has exhibited works throughout the United States since 1973
and was formerly represented for twenty years by Tatistcheff
Gallery in New York. This is his second solo exhibition with
Michael Beck received his MFA in Painting with High Distinction,
from the California College of Arts in 1984.
Michael Beck's Artist's Page