Art & Art History ETDs

Publication Date



Continuing since its eminence in the High Renaissance during the Fifteenth Century in Europe, representation had been the predominant mode of painting until the early decades of the Twentieth Century. This form also has firm foundations in America's artistic heritage. The progress and momentum of realistic painting, however, was to a large extent eclipsed during the late 1940's and 1950's by non-objective painting, particularly Abstract Expressionism. Unexpectedly the recent decade has seen numerous artists who have shown a renewed interest in representation as a basis for painting.

This study surveys the productions of these painters, probinR into their artistic ambitions, theories, as well as their methods of painting. It appears that these representationalists can be stylistically categorized but they are not held together by any awareness of being a unified or organized artistic movement. In two categories I have placed painters who may be seen as being influenced by ambitions of other more predominant art movements, during the fifties by Abstract Expressionism, more recently by post-painterly abstraction and Pop art. Another contemporary group of artists are striving for a return to direct

representation devoid of much modern rhetoric and methods. These artists are largely antagonistic to contemporary trends in art, and until recently have worked in relative independence and obscurity. In my conclusion I could not safely state that the representationalists in any of the categories formulated are creating highly significant statements about modern life or art on an individual basis. But the recent high degree of productivity and notoriety of these painters seems at least to be placing a renewed awareness on the possibilities available to representational art. The extreme polarities found in realism--now very much separated by ideological differences--for me, may breed a form of representational painting that may be vital and contemporary.



Document Type


Degree Name


Level of Degree


Department Name

UNM Department of Art and Art History

First Committee Member (Chair)

John Kacere

Second Committee Member

Van Deren Coke

Third Committee Member

Garo Antreasian

Fourth Committee Member

Kenneth Ray


10 microfilm slides are attached to the manuscript. These slides are uploaded in additional files.