Chairman's Introduction

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Chairman’s Message

Every year I continue to be amazed at the quality and originality of the newest crop of ARC Salon winners and finalists which just keep getting better at an accelerating pace. 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 Representational Art 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 6,909 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.

That's why Representational Art in the visual arts 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 representational artists, 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 emotions of our fellow humans. It has the ability to communicate complex thoughts and ideas through visual imagery. A person who may seem different or unrelatable because one does not share their cultural perspective or can't communicate through the spoken or written word, can swiftly feel like kin, when they draw, paint and sculpt subjects that touch our hearts and souls. After all, a picture is worth a thousand words.

The near destruction of Realism in the visual arts 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. Let us all hope that the fast growing 21st Century Representational Art Movement will play its part in establishing a more peaceful, yet beautiful and exciting, future.

Frederick C. Ross
Chairman, Art Renewal Center