Critics tend to view photorealist paintings as being disengaged works where the artist can only hope to stylistically reinterpret what is seen, minus the nuances of light, surroundings, or personality afforded to painters of live subjects.
And in many instances, that critique has great merit.
Can the same be said for an artist like Anna Bjerger, whose paintings allow for engagement and a great measure of affinity to the subject?
Often working from found photos, the Swedish artist creates oil-on-board paintings of poignant moments or spaces that one can identify with; who among us hasn't wished for a bit of solitude, like Bjerger's floating nudes? Or for a bed to crumple into after a wild night, not even caring if the spread properly covers our feet, like the figure in Party Sheet?
And then, there's Bjerger's wet-brush application which presents a translucency in some places, and a curious opacity in others. The muted palette helps with this, since washes of colour blend dreamily into each other, further juxtaposing each work's accessibility against this idea of occlusion within photo-based paintings.
Her pieces are quite captivating, perhaps more so than the images on which they are based...
NB Image Courtesy David Risley Gallery