A New Art Movement—Metarealism

Q: Are you starting a new Art Movement?

A: I am thinking about it—somebody should. I’d call it Metarealism, using the Greek prefix “meta”, meaning change, with “realism” denoting a grounding in the real, but not necessarily its imitation. It would be dedicated to finding novel, interesting, and beautiful ways to come to terms with the non-artificial world, changing perception by recontextualization of the images, objects, and phenomena that surround us, so they may be experienced freshly and with a rekindled sense of wonder at their innate beauty. This is what my art is about, and I’m sure there must be other artists with different approaches but similar goals.

We artists should be challenged and inspired by the insights which science has given us into previously unknown realms, with tools like magnetic resonance imaging, scanning electron microscopy, and deepwater submersible cameras; but where is the art resulting from this unprecedented flood of discovery? For the most part it has been limited to straight documentation of the items discovered, or educational and journalistic illustrations. Today, with the most powerful and sensitive tools that have ever been available, the artist’s world has been enlarged and the artist empowered, both in what can be observed and what can be done. Yet most art is stranded in a narrow and sterile wasteland, hemmed in by conflicting theories of what it should be about; impoverished, and excluded by its own self-conception as well as by massive public indifference, if not actual hostility.

Art has always been something that could be appreciated without preconditioning, a way of communicating subtle ideas without even the necessity for literacy; but suddenly it has been taken over as the exclusive province of experts who presume to tell us what to like and why. We must stand for the principle that a work of visual art is a visual thing, and must succeed on visual terms or not at all. Any of us is fully qualified to make of it what we will, although tastes will necessarily vary, and may even change with time and further exposure.

Recent technological breakthroughs make it possible to disseminate images and ideas much more freely than in the past; as well as to find and coordinate with like-minded others throughout the world. So it is time to consider launching a new art movement into cyberspace, where artists can now freely link their independent exhibition sites with those others that share a common sensibility. Others who are using the forms, images, or phenomena of the natural world in art that is powerful, beautiful, and novel are welcome to coordinate with me in this.

by Andrew Werby