Joel Fiser

Photorealism: Paintings about Photography

It's no coincidence that the rise of Modern Art coincides with the popular acceptance of photography. Painters saw the need to distance themselves from what quickly became photography's domain - recording a moment in space and time.

Steer Show

oil paint, 48in. x 36in

Trompe-l'œil (fool the eye)

For centuries, painters had been proving their virtuosity by demonstarting how well they could fool the eye by making a 2D surface appear 3D.


oil paint, 30in. x 24in.

Respecting the Flatness of the Canvas

Soon after the camera went mainstream, the method of fooling the eye came to be regarded as taking the easy way out, or inauthentic. Instead of making the 2D canvas look 3D, painters began to try to conform the 3D world to the flat canvas.

Horse Race

oil paint, 36in. x 36in.

All-over painting

As painters moved away from mimicking the 3D World, they questioned the notion of even painting a subject. A subject pulls the eye toward itelf and demands attention to its area of the canvas. If it was removed, could every part of a painting be interesting?


oil paint, 36in. x 36in.

An Object Unto Itself

Why should a painting be about something else? Instead of representing something, painters became more aware of the object they were making as a thing unto itself.


oil paint mixed with beeswax, 32in. x 40in.


inner tubes, tire valve, plumbing fixture, copper, oil paint; 30in. x 38in.