Virtual Reality and Real Reality – Nava Grossman
A painting is never the real thing. In realistic painting we draw an illusion of reality, in impressionist painting we are subjectively impressed by reality and express it on the canvass, expressionist painting refers to an internal reality, while surrealism floats above reality. In other words, painting can be seen as a journey on the wings of imagination, a subjective interpretation based on reality, but departing from it. Still, all these, while including a world of vision and imagination, are physical, material, visual, sensual objects.
Digital painting is still called ‘painting,’ but it has a different reality, and I believe is indeed the new form of surrealism, in the sense that it connects to reality – possible and impossible, the non-existent and what is, the seen and untouched and the implied materialism. A colorful story that does not intend to use a paintbrush to create the illusion of reality or depth or three-dimensional forms. Its sole interest is the new dimension, the fourth or fifth dimension – a virtual dimension combining the eye, the consciousness, the technology and the artist’s decisions.
Grossman presents a body of work that is seemingly unreal (virtual), it’s existence virtual, the painting itself, as most of its imagery, the landscapes, colors, movement, and composition. All these are defined as virtual, but on the computer screen they seem to be real. Therefore Grossman’s works tell a story with words consisting of color, shape and imagery. If in the days of traditional realistic painting we knew to point out that it represented reality and creates an illusion of reality, when it comes to digital painting, and Grossman’s paintings in particular, they create an illusion of a painting that often has an illusion of reality and at times, expresses an imagination above reality.
Grossman’s body of work points to an interesting combination of control and skill in the use of digital techniques – fields of expertise by their own right – and a story and personal expression, expanding the artist’s toolbox. Grossman examines reality and combines the external eye, seeing through the camera’s lenses and her internal eye, the one choosing, leaving out, framing and freezing. The photographing stage is the base of her work, an inspiration and departure point, leading to the realms of her creativity, featuring imagination, vision, creation and surprise. These technological means began with the photography and continued on the computer, being the means by which Grossman tells her story.
The romanticism of the artist touching the paints, being smeared, smelling the paint and creating ‘miracles’ of reality on the canvas are replaced, in Grossman’s work, by the romanticism of technological control enabling her to dream a story-reality – a thought, and to produce it into visual form. In this world it isn’t the size of the work that counts, not the smell, nor texture, but the created visual form, and the memory of the viewers who realize what they are seeing.
From her perspective these could be ‘Landscapes of the Heart’ or ‘Snakes and Ladders,’ ‘Pictures and Souls and Names of Names’ – these are her personal, somewhat philosophical thoughts molded into a visual image, and between the imagined nothingness and the unreal, it becomes real.