Chairman's Introduction

13th Annual ARC Salon (2017)

Chairman's Introduction

Every year I continue to be amazed at the quality and originality of the newest crop of ARC Salon winners and finalists which just keeps getting better at an accelerating pace.

For example, in the Drawing Category, be sure to carefully view the work, The Rise, by Yoann Lossel and The Fall of Man, by Phil Kidd the latter who spent 15 months in its creation. The Rise not only won a Dual Category Award and an ARC Purchase Award but was one of the top choices by the jurors in the Drawing Category and Imaginative Realist Category. The precision of rendering in the The Fall of Man is breathtaking. Both works are powerful and beautiful.

The Best in Show by Ming Yu, a first time entrant from China, is so successful because of the artist's creation of lighting effects through original paint handling. This relatively small work, In Bvlag, crackles off the wall like one might expect a 21st century Vermeer . Katsu Nakajima, who won a number of awards with us in the past, out-did himself yet again with his Woman in the Forest, which won this year's Bouguereau award and was a close runner up to Best in Show.

In the Sculpture Category, Benjamin Victor's, The Angel, is one of the finest three dimensional works that I've seen from any century. The loose, soft robe, that seems to be falling from this ethereal beauty, forms a tether to the ground, and places her center of gravity off center. Like the finest of trompe l'oiel paintings, Victor has fully created the illusion of flying, despite the heavy clay from which it's modeled. The further point, counter point, of her relaxed pose, gives the impression that she is resting for a moment in the air, before she takes off again for her next celestial task. There are just so many great works of art that were entered this year.

Nothing demonstrates better than these fine works of art, the basic tenets of the ARC Philosophy, perhaps the most important being, that Realism in the fine arts is a universal visual language. That alone makes Realism one of humanities greatest accomplishments. The purpose of all language is communication and alone, among all living things, people have the capacity to communicate with each other in near limitless complexity and sophistication. Whether with those whose lives we share, or those with whom we work, or whether it is to create records about life and history, realism serves this vital purpose of communication.

Most such communication is in the form of spoken and written language. However, with all of the benefits of language, it is also true that those benefits are lost without a common language which sadly does not exist in a spoken or written form. People who speak and write different languages simply have few ways to understand each other. With 7.6 billion people on the planet there are 6909 living languages which have developed, and in most cases, those who communicate with any one of them, are unable to communicate with those who speak the others.

For example, Google estimates that 45,000,000 people speak Ukrainian. This means that most people from the Ukraine cannot communicate with well over 99.5% of the people on earth. But when a Ukrainian artists paints subjects like children playing on a beach, the opposite is true, over 99% of humanity can understand what he/she is trying to communicate. That makes Realism a universal language and the only universal language at that.1 That's why Realism in fine art is so important to human beings. Modernism is known, among other things, for their claims that the art of painting is important because of the flatness of the picture plane which is elevated in this philosophy as being of paramount importance. However, for the realists, the opposite is true. It's the use of the flat, two-dimensional picture plane, transformed into a three-dimensional representation of life and the artist's ability to mimic the real world by a profound understanding of how the eye interprets line, form and color, which thereby communicates ideas, feelings and beliefs about life, living and our shared humanity. They fully employ the visual language of realism to enable the suspension-of-disbelief and thus tap the deeply felt heartstrings of our fellow humans.

The near destruction of Realism through most of the 20th century seems less than a coincidence to have occurred during the most violent, evil and horrible events in all of human history.

People who seem alien because we can't understand a word they speak or write, can swiftly feel like kin, when they draw paint and sculpt subjects that touch our hearts and souls.

Let us all hope that the fast growing 21st century Realist Art Movement will play its part in establishing a more peaceful, yet beautiful and exciting, future.

Frederick C. Ross
Chairman, Art Renewal Center


While music is commonly said to be a universal language as well, its communication is mostly on the emotional plane where it can function incredibly well. But Realist fine art is able to communicate a much vaster array of ideas, thoughts, experiences, beliefs and specific concepts as well as a full array of emotions.