Barry Orestky


    • Male
    • Hyperrealist

    About the artist

    1946: Was born in Owen Sound, Ontario

    For sheer descriptive power, Barry Oretsky’s paintings are hard to beat. More than that, their power of perception is in the service of acute social observation, verging on revelation. His pictures have the force of a paradox. He describes the physical reality of the work with such intensity and blazing clarity that it becomes peculiarly “metaphysical” – uncanny. In other words, what seems like a coolly realized, casually observed, all too familiar scene, is subliminally charged – unexpectedly fraught with odd emotional significance, which, it turns out, was latent in the scene all along. For all the apparent neutrality and detachment of his observation, Oretsky’s pictures communicate a sense of impacted desperation… Indeed, his work can be taken as contemporary emblematic illustrations of Thoreau’s famous observation that the mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.

    For all their extroverted realism, Oretsky’s paintings are profoundly introverted. They are major contributions to the vision of the human condition implicit in the best American realism.

    (Donald Kuspit, 2001)


    "To my mind, a major distinction between realism and romance is the presentation of allegories of life. A romantic sensibility lets an artist choose images that are filled with allegory. I certainly am more than happy to have people see a romantic sensibility in my work. That immediately separates my art from dry factuality. But there are limitations to a romantic view of life and art. Not all romantic art is filled with sweetness and light.

    "I pursue images. I will shoot thousands of slides searching for those special images in terms of exploration and meditation. They hold visual elements and metaphors inherent in the image. I have found that I take pictures without consciously composing the subject matter. When I get back to my studio, the selection process involves sitting down with a slide projector and spending time with each image to become acquainted with its obvious and less obvious details.

    "Once I have made the commitment to an image and decided upon my interpretation, the follow-through for me is craftsmanship. A painting is the sum total of its elements. The painter can subdue, enhance or eliminate. I maintain firm compositional control by relying on precise preliminary sketches.

    "You and I can see a great painting and come to feel truth expressed. We may not have words to describe the achievement, but we sense it wordlessly. Art lies outside the artist – approachable yet other. With that humbling thought in mind, I revert in my daydreams and strategies to my own work. Nevertheless, I’m in charge and I work with all the elements of that great otherness which is art." I know I’m finished when I’m satisfied that I have resolved all the elements. There is a sense of completion. It’s done! To overpaint and continue to make choices is an unwillingness to accept a finality. I have learned intuitively that it is over." 

    Barry Orestky

    Source: Plus One Gallery Website

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