Is it real? Lifelike invites a close examination of works based on commonplace objects and situations, which are startlingly realistic, often playful, and sometimes surreal. This group exhibition, which debuted at the Walker Art Center, features artists variously using scale, unusual materials, and sly contextual devices to reveal the manner in which their subjects’ “authenticity” is manufactured.
Avoiding the brand-name flashiness embraced by 1960s Pop and the slick urban scenes introduced at that time by the Photorealists, the artists in Lifelike investigate the quieter side of the quotidian, choosing potentially overlooked items or moments as subject matter: a paper bag, an eraser, an apple core, a waiting room, an afternoon nap. They also favor a handmade, labor-intensive practices rather than technological enhancements. The resulting works—including painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, and video—transform the ordinary into something beguiling, loaded with narrative and metaphor, and imbued with an arresting sense of humanity.