Maggie Bollaert presents the work of the Hyperrealist artists Pedro Campos and Cynthia Poole.
Pedro Campos portrays certain still life objects: seduced by their perfection and form, the exact colours of their pristine surfaces, and their potential for order and precision in composition, he goes far beyond the merely technical.
With Cynthia Poole's "Contemporary Still Life" paintings, we are shown the traditional genre as re-interpreted by a resident of modern London, focusing on the forms, surfaces and signage of everyday things in their normal urban context.
The two books mark the start of a series of monographs on Hyperrealist artists by Plus One Publishing. Previous publications include "Exactitude, Hyperrealist Art Today" (with Thames & Hudson), "Carl Laubin, Paintings" (with Philip Wilson Publishers), "John Salt, the Complete Works 1969-2006" (with Philip Wilson Publishers) and "Hiperrealism AVUI" (Museu del Tabac, Andorra).
Extract from the book:
Pedro Campos has been painting for as long as he can remember: painting runs in his blood. He is from a family of artists; his father was an art teacher in his native Spain.
His extensive knowledge - and use - of traditional materials and techniques used by the Old Masters, is clearly evident in his work, as he himself observes: "I think the influence of restoration in developing my own way of painting has been important. The restoration of lost areas in antique paintings forces you to seek exactitude in colour". He also recognises that his time in the advertising world influenced his choice of contemporary subject matter: Coke cans, jelly beans, book titles, glass marbles, and fruit wrapped in plastic, are all recurrent themes in his paintings. His fascination with artists such as Lucien Freud, Richard Estes, Francis Bacon and Anish Kapoor; is in their notable individuality rather than in their subject matter. What he admires in these artists is in their unique and instantly recognisable styles.
For him it doesn't matter whether one paints from life or from a photograph, what is important is to achieve the desired result, which in his case is to be as realistic as possible, always within a personal and recognisable style.
Extract from the book:
Cynthia Poole is interested in the forms, surfaces and signage of everyday things in their normal contexts. She prefers objects which are plain and functional, with forms which are not disfigured by decoration: type objects, in fact, for example, that quotidian white china stacking cup found in hotels and cafes, a cup whose form and purpose is so obvious it may represent all other cups. The food products she depics - a tin of beans, a bottle of vinegar - are mass-market consumer items, recognisable to everyone. She seeks out brands which are familiar, contemporary and iconic. She says that labels should not be too self-conscious, or too archaic, or too decorative.
Many of the paintings in this book are of chocolate bars and crisp packets, either in newsagents' displays or in vending machines. Much of the interest in this series rests on the vivid colour and strident competitiveness of the wrappers. As she says, objects of this kind are normally only perceived as signage - yet they make up much of the visual fabric of contemporary life. Their unacknowledged beauty, and their evolutionary success in the retail jungle, adds a carnival aspect to the quotidian world of the corner shop.
Maggie Bollaert, 2014