Audrey Flack is an American artist who contributed to pioneering the photorealistic genre of art, focusing on women, everyday objects and situations, and the modern past. Flack’s immense prowess in the study and execution of detail demonstrates her sense of essential authenticity. Take any painting, whether it involves a thread of pearls, a pewter cup, a bowl of fruit, a newspaper photo, a tube of lipstick, a snapshot image, or a mixture of the above, and you’ll instantly know that suspending the whole with the parts is exceedingly difficult. The parts become the whole for Flack. She is more interested in expressing the essential truth of seeing than in conflating truth with illusion.
She was born on the 30th of May,1931 in New York City. Audrey’s parents were Eastern European emigrants, and for her to carry on the Jewish heritage and culture, she was taught Hebrew and spent her summer vacations at a Jewish camp. Flack, on the other hand, was a restless student in junior high school, and she was constantly sent to a desk in the corridor, where she was given pencils and paper to keep her occupied. Ironically, it was her dismissal from class that led her to discover her passion.
Education and Career
She has a long list of educational qualifications. Her formal art education began in 1948 at New York’s Cooper Union, and she was invited to Yale in 1951 by German American artist Joseph Albers, where she began to establish her style, influenced by her professors and mentors. In 1952, she earned a degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts. She then returned to New York for a year to study art history at the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University. She began shifting away from the abstract style and toward realism, because she believed the abstract expressionist style she had been using was not achieving her main purpose, which was to communicate with the audience. Her works began to be classified in the new realism style and subsequently switched to photorealism. Later she enrolled in Arts Students League (ASL), where she studied anatomy under Robert Beverly Hale. She created the illusion of realism in photographs by painting with various mediums.
Flack was the first photorealistic painter to have work in the Music of Modern Arts collection among her university colleagues in 1966. Her works as a photorealist have impacted numerous American and worldwide artists. Unlike many male photo realists, who paint neutral content obtained from pictures with a gentle nature, Flack’s illusionist paintings touch into personal, socio-political, and feminist concerns, all of which are filled with sophisticated symbolic iconography.
Style of work
Flack created a new approach for her paintings in the 1970s. Instead of simply utilizing images as references, she projected them onto the canvas like a slide, then used an airbrushing method to produce brushstrokes. She created still-life paintings that were well-received. She has created a lot of other works related to her religious and cultural history throughout that time, in addition to vanitas. World War II (Vanitas) during 1976–77, Marilyn (Vanitas) in 1977, and Wheel of Fortune (Vanitas) during 1977–78 were some of her notable works.
In the 1980s, Flack moved from painting to sculpture, creating numerous interior and outdoor bronze sculptures depicting goddesses and other strong female figures. She was the recipient of numerous public commissions, which resulted in significant public sculpture. The Monumental Gateway to the City of Rock Hill in South Carolina, which consists of four twenty-foot-high bronze figures on granite pedestals; Veritas et Justitia, a fifteen-foot-high figure of Justice for the Thirteenth Judicial Courthouse in Tampa, Florida; and Islandia, a nine-foot-high bronze sculpture for the New York City Technical College in Brooklyn, New York, are some of her public commissions. Beginning in 1992, a major retrospective of her work produced by the J.B. Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Kentucky, toured galleries around the country.
She began attending banjo camps in the late 2000s and eventually established the history of the art band, which comprised songs about artists such as Lee Krasner, Mary Cassatt, and Vincent Van Gogh. In 2012, a CD was released on that. Flack was the topic of the documentary Queen of Hearts: Audrey Flack (2019), in which she discussed the difficulties of being a single mother while also being an artist, as well as the sexism she faced throughout her career. Flack, who still lives in Manhattan with her husband Bob, has recently returned to working in two dimensions. She switched back to drawing later. She is delving further into two of her long standing passions: women and religion. Drawing motivated her to return to painting, but this time with a brush on canvas rather than an airbrush.
Audrey Flack has given numerous talks and lectures both nationally and internationally. Cooper Union awarded her the Augustus St. Gaudens Medal, Bridgeport University designated her an honorary Albert Dorne Professor, and George Washington University designated her an honorary professor. Breaking the Rules: Audrey Flack, a Retrospective, 1950-1990, by Thalia Gouma Peterson, published by the Abrams Publishing Company in New York, is one of many volumes about her work. Audrey Flack is the writer of these books: On Painting in 1986, The Daily Muse in 1989, Art & Soul in 1990, and Penguin in 1991.
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