Michael Beck has been exploring the multi-dimensional evolution of realist painting since his beginnings as a member of the Photo-Realist movement in the 1970’s. Yet apart from this first group, and in an effort to synthesize realist traditions, Beck began in the 1990’s to simplify his imagery and produce work that serves to raise question about the make-up of traditional still life and landscape painting – within the context of realism. Beck is aware of movements and players, from tromp l’oeil and neo-classism to a distinction between realism and photo-realism; and examines the impact of video and digital art. He also considers influences on the genre by its proponents as well as unlikely candidates such as Warhol and Morandi.
His recent works are single items painted to-scale, peculiar objects which Beck finds at flea markets or thrift shops. Unrecognized, they prompt viewers to search for identity and for a personal connection with the objects. The works themselves ponder history and transitions in realism and the framework in which they’re presented.
Michael Beck received his MFA in Painting with High Distinction, from the California College of Arts in 1984 but has exhibited works throughout the United States since 1973, the same year he won the James D. Phelan Award’s Top Purchase Prize from The San Francisco Foundation of Art. Since 2000 he has been selected for Visual Aid’s Art Voucher Program, and won the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant for 2002 and 2003.
Submitted by: Adam Beck, artist’s son.