The Surreal Magic Realism of James Guppy
Throughout my career I have been asking myself whether this heritage has any relevance now. Since the development of photography, the role of figurative painting in portraiture and as social chronicle has all but died and the craft of illusionary painting has become largely relegated to the backwaters of romantic nostalgia and reactionary historicism. Painting in general will clearly continue; but have the figurative traditions of illusionism been technologically outflanked by photography, film and computer generated imagery? Frankly, I don’t know and I sometimes wonder at the quixotic nature of my need to find a contemporary relevance for these pre-modernist styles of depiction. This site shows where I have gone in my search so far.
My paintings are all in acrylic. I love oils but the facility I gained as a mural artist working with fast drying paints means I can get the same effects as oils quicker, without worrying about the more complex chemistry of oils. I also get a sort of perverse pleasure creating paintings that can look like they were painted in one medium when in fact they were painted in another.