Empathy, Humanism and Liberalism: Today’s Realism is Anything But Conservative

There is a rather frustrating sentiment in contemporary art that realism equates to "antiquated" or "conservative" or worst yet, "derivative." John Seed, writer, curator, and professor of art and art history at Mt. San Jacinto College in Southern California, tends to disagree. He recently penned an article in The Huffington Post entitled, Empathy, Humanism and Liberalism: Today's Realism is Anything But Conservative, that challenges those prejudiced notions and showcases a group of artists that use realism to push conceptual, thematic and social frontiers. I am honored to be one of those artists featured in the article. 

The social issues that are at the heart of today’s liberal politics — including women’s rights, LGBT issues, racial equality and secular identity — are animating a wide swath of representational paintings. Many are not overtly political, but instead they focus on human dynamics and situations with an emphasis on the power of empathy. Rather than focusing on life’s hardships, like the Social Realism of the early 20th century, today’s Progressive Realists are interest in human identity in the context of social and political constructs. To put it another way, realists have taken on many of the view and projects that have pre-occupied Postmodernists, but do so using time-honored methods and media.
— John Seed, Empathy, Humanism and Liberalism: Today’s Realism is Anything But Conservative

Other artists featured in this article include Brad Kunkle, Aleah Chapin, Erin AndersonMilan HrnjazovicSteve LinbergDiana CorvelleKyle HackettJean-Paul Mallozzi, and Matt Ballou.  

Click HERE to read the article in it's entirety. 

In Conversation with Metro Asheville

Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of sitting down with JC Tripp, of Metro Asheville, a guide to Asheville's more urban-leaning music, art and culture. We talked about online censorship, nude selfies, why I left New York, and what lays ahead for my work. Below is an exert from the interview. 

Body Language:
Reuben Negron’s Intimate and Intricate Nude Portraits

His work is an open dialogue on the human body, at its most revealing and telling. Negron tells stories with nudes, but invites the viewer to fill in the narrative, giving clues and body language that can be interpreted in many ways. Cues come from body language, setting, lighting and props, not unlike a stage. It’s up to the viewer to interpret what’s going on in his work, which is rich with detail and nuance and open to interpretation.

His latest series, This House of Glass is an intimate exposé on what we keep hidden from others – and in many cases, what we hide from ourselves. Working with volunteers, Negron interviewed each model about their lives, personalities and history; specifically focusing on sensitive and vulnerable details they normally keep veiled. Through this process their personal narratives were dismantled and reconstructed into Negron’s work. Staged in the model’s own home or place of special interest, each painting is a cumulative experience not meant to document a singular instance but to illustrate the entirety of the model’s story. Truly profound and moving works of art, both in their orchestration, and revelation.

Throughout his career as an artist, Negron has been exploring themes of intimacy, psychology and social politics, and most recently gender, identity, and sexuality through visual narrative. There is no shock value to his work, unless the viewer finds the human form shocking. Instead, Negron is telling stories of human sexuality and body image in an honest and provocative manner, without the smoothing over or covering up. His work’s bare honesty and intimacy expose a vulnerability and beauty that lies in all of us.
— Metro Asheville, September 29th, 2015

Interview with PoetsArtists Magazine

Last month I was interviewed by PoetsArtists Magazine leading up to this month's opening of The Artist's Gaze: Seeing Women in the 21st Century, currently on view at Sirona Fine Art in Hallandale Beach, Florida. The exhibition features work by 40+ artists, each dealing with "the female form and persona... ith the artist themselves as subject, and in the greater context of the society we live in." 

Here is an excerpt from the interview: 

What compels you to the specific women you choose to paint?
Many of my models come to me as volunteers. Most have seen my watercolors online or in various galleries and are compelled for reasons entirely their own to be a part of the work. The majority have never even posed nude before. My work investigates the relationship between what we project in public and how we live in private. Much of the subject matter deals with body politics, sexuality, and identity. It’s all very personal and requires a level of involvement from the models that goes beyond posing - it asks that they share a part of their own story in addition to their likeness.
It’s not easy to open up like that, especially to a stranger, so I find that all of my models, regardless of gender and age, possess a level of bravery that I admire and am immediately drawn to. In many ways I don’t choose them, they choose me.

Click HERE to read the rest of the interview...

The Sex We Have When We Think No One’s Watching

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Erica Jagger of A Sexy Woman Of A Certain Age, a website focused on boomer women, sex and culture. You can check out our conversation HERE where we discuss censorship, the origins of Dirty Dirty Love, and the importance of talking about sex at any age. 

Dirty Dirty Love: The Sex We Have When We Think No One’s Watching


Check out this thoughtful and well-researched article about the history and current state of watercolor - written by Christopher Behrens, an independent filmmaker, author, and a masterful watercolorist in his own right. I’m honored to be one of the artists included in this survey of contemporary watercolors along with six other talented individuals. Click HERE to read more.

Manifesto Magazine

I'm happy to announce that my interview with Gili Karev for Manifesto Magazine has arrived! Manifesto is a high-end art, fashion and culture magazine out of Hong Kong, China and can be found at international newsstands, bookstores and major retailers such as Bookazine, Dymocks, great Food Hall, HMV, Page One, and PARKnSHOP. For those that can't find a copy near you, I've posted low-resolution scans of the article below. Click on the images to enlarge or download a PDF version HERE.

Manifesto #14: The Dark Horse's Issue. "Close Quarters," page 1.

Manifesto #14: The Dark Horse's Issue. "Close Quarters," page 2.