New Realities

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Michael Beck, Little Squirt, 22 x 16", Oil on canvas, 2005.
Michael Beck, Senior Security, 52 x 37 1/2", oil on canvas, 2007.
Michael Beck, Swan Song, 24 x 20", oil on canvas, 2006.
Michael Beck, Primary Load, 13 1/2 x 22 1/2", Oil on canvas, 2006.
Standing Ovation, 22 x 29", Oil on canvas, 2006.
Michael Beck, And the Winner is …, (detail) 4 - 11 x 11", oil on canvas, 2007.
Michael Beck, Baja Run, 10 1/2 x 22", oil on canvas, 2005.
Michael Beck, Sea View, 46 x 52", Oil on canvas, 2005.
Michael Beck, Fast Forward, 6 x 18", oil on canvas, 2005.
Michael Beck, The Red Meanie, 16 x 12", Oil on canvas, 2006. Michael Beck, B: (v.) all that you can be, 29 1/2 x 20 1/2", oil on canvas, 2007. Michael Beck, Excalibur, 44 1/2 x 31", Oil on canvas, 2003.

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 imagery 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 and Morandi.

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 the gallery.

Michael Beck received his MFA in Painting with High Distinction, from the California College of Arts in 1984.

Michael Beck's Artist's Page