Realism Art and a “Disconcerting Ambiguity”


Robert David Jinkins: Horizontal Line
Miller Art Museum
Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin
Through April 10, 2023

contemporary realism - Robert David Jinkins (b. 1994), "Ovis Aries," 2022, mixed acrylic media and graphite on panel, 72 x 60 in.
Robert David Jinkins (b. 1994), “Ovis Aries,” 2022, mixed acrylic media and graphite on panel, 72 x 60 in.

The Miller Art Museum is presenting large recent paintings created by Robert David Jinkins, most depicting life on the Wisconsin farm his family has owned since the 1840s. He explains, “Growing up on a farm, I gained an admiration and reverence for the land that so many of my family members have worked.  I enjoy painting every blade of grass while allowing a disconcerting ambiguity to lurk below the surface in order to encourage viewers into a deeper dialogue with the painting.”

The exhibition’s curator, Helen del Guidice, adds, “These paintings are less idyllic and more forthright about the rural environment and its proximity to life and death. Jinkins connects the perimeters of the paintings as an object to the panoramic storytelling, through long panels, diptychs, and triptychs, which provides the viewer a visceral sense of place.”

Having earned an M.F.A. from Iowa State University, Jinkins is now a full-time lecturer in drawing at the University of Wisconsin – Stout. His scenes are complicated, sometimes slightly disturbing, reflecting his effort to, in his own words, “find the sublime in the mundane.”

Several works in this show were produced during a period funded by a grant from the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation, a major force for good in the field of contemporary realism.

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