As the 20th Century gave way to the 21st, Hyperrealism evolved from an art dealer buzzword into a unique and striking genre all of its own. Whilst its progenitor Photorealism focused on producing work that exactly recreated its subject matter, Hyperrealist artists moved beyond rote replication; photographs became part of the means rather than the desired end. Hyperrealist art utilising shatteringly crystal clarity coupled with luminously bold colours does not reproduce reality, but accentuates it. Hyperrealism in its current form has been made possible by the exponential development of digital photography and editing software; which opened up new frontiers unimaginable to their Photorealist predecessors.
Whilst Hyperrealism lacks a formal manifesto, it can be broadly broken down into three distinct categories that its practitioners work within: Landscape, Still Life and The Human Figure. Christian Marsh is a Landscape Hyperrealist artist who uses the technologically-enhanced possibilities inherent in to create stunning cityscapes in oil and canvas. Travelling across the globe, Marsh uses photography to document dozens of different constituent elements of his chosen landscapes: different times, lighting and moving individuals. Rather than choosing any individual photograph to recreate, he instead composites them into a single image which contains the most evocative and powerful aspects of each image, enhancing the reality of any given location into a scene more striking and comprehensive as the sum of his inspirations.
Rather than simply relying on the architecture he paints to tell the whole story, Marsh has developed a reputation as a ‘humane’ Hyperrealist in his attention to the human element of his lush urban environments. Rather than be simple markers for scale, the people in his paintings are in many ways the central focus. The extreme focus and depth of field possible in Hyperealism allows Marsh to add an emotive ‘backstory’ to the people who exist in his cityscapes asserting “the inclusion of a human presence and subtle narrative is important for the overall atmosphere of the location, as well as inviting interaction with the viewer.” The fleeting nature of the moments that Marsh captures can’t help but draw the mind towards the identity and feelings of transient humanity, in a way that is frequently not touched on in similar landscape painting. If cities are as much the sum total of the people who live in them as architecture than Christian Marsh’s Hyperrealist approach shows the urban environment as it really is. He is represented exclusively by the Plus One Gallery in London, which has many of his most evocative works and greatly benefits from being witnessed in the flesh.
The Plus One Gallery is located in the Piper Building, Peterborough Road SW6 3EF
Open Monday-Friday: 10am-6pm by appointment only