“Realism gets a bad rap,” says Christine Schefman, Director of Contemporary Art for David Klein Gallery, and helmswoman of the new downtown Detroit location. The latest show to open at David Klein is Pictures of You, which features five painters, each of whom employs realism in some capacity in his renderings—and each of whom makes a pretty good case for its enduring relevance in a time where painting is no longer the leading technology for capturing reality.
The show is divided between a focus on human versus architectural subjects—and within each subject type, further divided between attempts at photo-realism versus the taking of impressionistic liberties. Within the architectural realm, artist Stephen Magsig holds down the stricter side of realism, with austere landscapes that seem, for all their industrial details, to be fundamentally about capturing light where it strikes and fades from surfaces. The works on display are larger than his exceedingly charming ongoing series, “Postcards from Detroit,” which capture this same basic subject matter at a handheld scale. While the postcard series is a bit looser, Magsig’s larger works are precise and focused—perfectly capturing, but perhaps more potentially outstanding when viewed outside the context of the city from which he draws so much inspiration.