We’ve thought about it a lot. What makes art worth making, buying, or even hanging on a wall? Because we like it? Absolutely. But how can we know what constitutes great art? Art that we’ll continue to like, or better yet love, years from now? In other words, how should we evaluate art? Over the years we’ve settled on Contemporary Realism. What’s that? Here’s a definition for you: Contemporary Realism advocates a simple realistic painting style. The artists of the genre come from various backgrounds but are united in their choice to depict their subjects accurately, rather than conform to the more abstract movements popular in Modern art. Contemporary Realists choose subjects from daily life or that will have meaning to modern audiences.
Mark considers himself a contemporary realist painter, and realism is the kind of art that we admire and try to collect ourselves. Once in a while, we run into an abstract painting that we like, but how can we know that it’s good? We like the way John Pence said it, "Abstraction to me is willy-nilly; I can’t explain it and in many cases it doesn’t require great skill. Realism isn’t the same. It requires skills, like those of Michelangelo or John Singer Sargent. These artists go to school and meet standards. They have to draw and they have to understand color. We all know what it is that they’re depicting, so we know whether they’re good or bad." (John Pence is a champion of Contemporary Realism with his impeccable John Pence Gallery in San Francisco.) We think seeing is believing, and not believing is seeing.