Hyperrealism is a genre of painting and sculpture resembling a high-resolution photograph. Hyperrealism is a fully fledged school of art and can be considered an advancement of Photorealism by the methods used to create the resulting paintings or sculptures. The term is primarily applied to an independent art movement and art style in the United States and Europe that has developed since the early 2000s
Hyperrealism is contrasted with the literal approach found in traditional photorealist paintings of the late 20th century.Hyperrealist painters and sculptors use photographic images as a reference source from which to create a more definitive and detailed rendering, unlike Photorealism, is narrative and emotive in its depictions. Strict Photorealist painters tended to imitate photographic images, omitting or abstracting certain finite detail to maintain a consistent over-all pictorial design. They often omitted human emotion, political value, and narrative elements. Since it evolved from Pop Art, the photorealistic style of painting was uniquely tight, precise, and sharply mechanical with an emphasis on mundane, everyday imagery.
Hyperrealism, although photographic in essence, often entails a softer, much more complex focus on the subject depicted, presenting it as a living, tangible object. These objects and scenes in Hyperrealism paintings and sculptures are meticulously detailed to create the illusion of a reality not seen in the original photo. That is not to say they're surreal, as the illusion is a convincing depiction of (simulated) reality. Textures, surfaces, lighting effects, and shadows appear clearer and more distinct than the reference photo or even the actual subject itself.
Hyperrealist painters and sculptors make allowances for some mechanical means of transferring images to the canvas or mold. Sculptures utilize polyesters applied directly onto the human body or mold. Hyperrealism requires a high level of technical prowess and virtuosity to simulate a false reality.
Subject matter ranges from portraits, figurative art, still life, landscapes, cityscapes and narrative scenes. The more recent hyperrealist style is much more literal with pictorial detail and with an emphasis on social, cultural or political themes. Hyperreal paintings and sculptures further create a tangible solidity and physical presence through subtle lighting and shading effects. Shapes, forms and areas closest to the forefront of the image visually appear beyond the frontal plane of the canvas. Hyperrealistic images are typically ten to twenty times the size of the original photographic reference source. Many of the paintings are achieved with an airbrush, using acrylics, oils or a combination of both.