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'Everything You See Could Be A Lie': The Hyperrealism Of Ana De Alvear

 June 24, 2021 at 10:50 AM PDT

Speaker 1: 00:00 Now on view and San Diego museum of art is a new exhibition featuring be hyper-realistic drawings of contemporary artists on a D LVR. It's not the first time the Balboa park institution has welcomed contemporary work to its walls, but it's part of a trend of recent exhibitions that play with or reflect on the old masterpieces from the museum's collection de LVRs exhibition features dozens of still lives that draw you in for a closer look and make you question everything. KPBS arts editor, Julia Dixon Evans has the story. Even Speaker 2: 00:37 If we were standing right in front of one of [inaudible] works of art, you probably wouldn't believe me, but what you're seeing, isn't real. The San Diego museum of art just installed a major exhibition of work by contemporary artists on a DVR she's based in Madrid. The exhibition is called everything you see could be ally entering the gallery on the first floor of SDMA begins. The progression of lies. Here's Ana Davia. Speaker 3: 01:07 One of the things that happens when you enter the exhibition is that you think everything is a photograph, but it isn't. So that's the first lie. And, uh, and then you see some stuffed animals and you think that it's a toy, uh, exhibition, but it isn't. We talk about hunger in the world. We talk about mistreatment of children. What I'm trying to do with this title is explain to you from the beginning that everything would you see, you should think about it twice that maybe your peace stablish thoughts are not the ones that should be working on there that you should think about what all the meanings of the things that you see. The Speaker 2: 01:50 Exhibition features dozens of massive hyper realistic drawings. [inaudible] work is made entirely with colored pencils, but it looks so real. I was even scolded by a museum guard for getting too close and attempt to lean in and hunt for a pencil lines. Speaker 4: 02:07 When you first see her drawings, you think they must be photographs Speaker 2: 02:13 And Nina Feldman, the museum's deputy director for curatorial affairs and education. Speaker 4: 02:18 You absolutely cannot believe that they're drawn in pencil. It's kind of unsettling and startling at the same time. You know, um, just how incredibly talented she is in this technique. It doesn't seem humanly possible. Speaker 2: 02:33 First, the obvious drawings look like traditional, still lifes, like a Bruegel the elder painting. There's vivid flowers in a vase with insects calling nearby there's animals, strung up hanging upside down, light glints on an edge, crystal goblet, or a feast of crumbly baked goods. There's a sort of unraveling as you realize that what you are looking at is not a photograph. Then you start to see that the things depicted aren't real in the first place, they're stuffed animals, fake flowers, plastic insects. There's a depth to Alvarez work beyond the first layer of deception. Feldman said, it's a form of Speaker 4: 03:17 Looking at the values of society and making sort of ironic little statements about them by using stuffed toys and bits of plastic and things, which you don't notice immediately, but you, you get your eye and you say, oh no, that's not a real insect. That's actually stuffed animals. And your first response is, find it really funny. And then she, you know, she comes through with these other quite darker meanings, Speaker 2: 03:44 The fake objects in her work represent misinformation. They represent concealed or silent abuse. They represent the climate crisis. The Javier wants viewers to think about the dual nature of mundane things around us. Speaker 3: 03:59 And it's also about hunger, about hunger in the world, about the Ms treatment in general of the society to other societies, which are not from our color, from our flag, from our whatever. And also what is the inheritance we're leaving to the future generations because everything is in plastic. So someday we will not even have those rabbits or those flowers to be able to cook them because everything will be dead. Speaker 2: 04:30 An FDA Alverez works called two hairs shows to plush, rabbit toys, strung up like freshly hunted, kill, ready to prep for a feast. Each Tuft of fur fake fur. That is, is unbelievable. The finest of details. There's even a hint of a blur like an over enlarged photograph, but this is all the work of the as pencil while the viewer is unpacking the lies. There's more at play Speaker 3: 04:58 Actually that is child mistreatment, because what if you kill a stuffed animal? What are you killing? You are killing the, the, the innocence to play the game. Okay? If the Speaker 2: 05:10 24 still life drawings represent the problems in a society DVR also poses a way out to pencil drawn galaxies, fill two entire walls in the gallery. Each massive galaxy contains 50 individual drawings, patchwork together. One is dark at night. The other is bright, white up close. They swirl with color from afar. It's a reminder. Speaker 3: 05:39 One of the things you can do is you can, you can get very far away with your mind and then your problems are so small that you can just jump over them. And that's the way you can get to distance towards those problems. And try to find a solution though. Speaker 2: 05:57 Work feels like a modern twist. Hyper realism has been used by artists throughout history. It's a way of inviting the viewer to question reality by fooling the eye, by bringing in a little of the surreal SDMA has recently shown other contemporary work that pushes boundaries, but also seems to play with art history like Colleen Smith's homage to one Sanchez Katon. That's still on view in placing Davio's work on the walls of SDMA. Our viewing experience is shaped and informed by the old masters surrounding it. The exhibition is situated next to another new exhibition, the old European paintings from the Bamberg foundation into Luce. It's a powerful juxtaposition against [inaudible] radical drawings in so many ways on a Dov, his work lures you in for a closer look. Maybe you're wondering if that's a plastic ant crawling over the pastries. Maybe you're thinking about world hunger or innocence lost, or the vastness of the universe, or maybe you're looking for a pencil lines Speaker 1: 07:02 That was KPBS arts editor and producer Julia Dixon Evans on a D LVRs exhibition. Everything you see could be a lie is on view through September 27th at the San Diego museum of art.

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Madrid-based contemporary artist Ana de Alvear's colored-pencil drawings call reality into question at San Diego Museum of Art.
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