press release

Up Close and Impersonal is the first major presentation in the UK of work by American painter Philip Pearlstein. Considered by many to be the foremost living American realist, Pearlstein's singular practice has since the late 1950s focused on depictions of the female nude.

In his recent paintings and works on paper, Pearlstein presents models in various stages of repose - sleeping, sitting or lying - amidst an array of props including Americana, toys, weathervanes, textiles and furnishings. Reminiscent more of still life compositions, they are an exact and deliberate translation of what the artist observes in his studio, echoing his long-held conviction that "it is the honesty of the attempt to recreate the forms and spaces visually without artistic editing that is one of the hallmarks of realist painting".

Works such as Two Models, Owl, Cardinal, Eagle Weathervane (2008) and Model with Two Boats (2008) are typical of Pearlstein's carefully arranged scenes, where figure and object are on equal terms, with one allowed no more significance than the other. The artist's flawlessly rendered surfaces; use of stark lighting and awkward compression of pictorial space heightens the detachment of his subjects from lived experience and, as some writers have acknowledged, offers a reading of his work as a form of abstraction.

only in german

Philip Pearlstein
Up Close and Impersonal