Detail of
Detail of "Two Hares," full painting below

Photorealistic Paintings On View: “Everything You See Could Be a Lie”
San Diego Museum of Art San Diego
through September 27, 2021

The photorealistic drawings created by the Madrid-based artist Ana de Alvear (b. 1962) are rarely seen in the U.S., just one reason the San Diego Museum of Art’s current show is so welcome. Titled “Everything You See Could Be a Lie,” it demonstrates how Alvear plays with the ambiguities between reality and its representation.

SDMA curator Anita Feldman has selected more than 20 works executed in colored pencil on paper, two of them wall-sized, and all made by hand in incredible detail. Many of them riff wittily on the motifs seen in traditional still life paintings.

Photorealistic Painting of two rabbits
Ana de Alvear (b. 1962), “Two Hares (Dos Liebres),” 2014, colored pencil on paper, 38 3/4 x 27 in., collection of the artist

Illustrated above, for example, are two dead rabbits (hares). In an Old Master scene these would normally be hanging in a kitchen, ready to be skinned and cooked. Alvear’s rabbits, however, are stuffed toys more likely to evoke our memories of the mass-produced prizes we won in a carnival ring-toss.

In 2006, Alvear founded Vital International Video Art, a traveling exhibition through which artists worldwide can find a meeting point for intellectual discourse and create a network with curators, galleries, foundations, and private collectors.

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