A brief look at the development of Photorealism in painting, from its beginnings to the present day and a consideration of the divergent reasons for it.
Prizewinner in the 2012 John Moores Painting Prize, Newcastle-based artist and lecturer Narbi Price is a painter engaged in pushing the expectations of figurative and in particular photographically-derived painting. He does this in terms of paint application, finish and composition and in blurring the line between figuration and formal abstraction.
His subject matter – de-peopled corners of the urban world – might be considered mundane and banal’ but as writer Nev Clay suggests, in his 2009 catalogue essay, ‘Narbi’s quiet studies aren’t social commentary, pop celebration or living-room bathos. For me, in their carefully crafted blandness, they signify the presence of a willingness to let the world speak for itself. The absence of human subjects and deliberate lack of narrative place the viewer in a unique but uniquely familiar position – alone with the world as it is. The neutral object steers us between the twin magnets of attraction and aversion, and confronts us with something more challenging perhaps – the ambiguity of the everyday, the places we inhabit while nothing’s happening.’