The hyper-realist style fascinates me -- as I am sure it is meant to do -- but I am ambivalent about its "validity." Mostly they seem to want to dazzle us with their ability to make shiny things.Here's how I answered him:
In days of yore it was called trompe d'oeil (and a visually challenged person used to be called "blind," but that's another topic altogether.) Remember William Harnett?Enjoy your Tuesday.
Not much has changed. It's a subject I've continued to be fascinated by--expression vs representation. You can do it too; it's a matter of pure skill, nothing more. And you have nailed it on the head--it is showing off their ability, saying "look what I can do," which is ALL I have ever gleaned from this stuff.
As to its validity, that requires knowing what we mean by validity, doesn't it? What shall we include in our scope of "art" and what gets called something else? On the one hand we have the trompe d'oeil, all about pure skill--the image means nothing more than a conduit to show off what the "artist" can do. And then we have pure idea--all the cerebral stuff-- requiring no skills at all. (Too much of that going on, too.) Add to that pure feeling, stuff that is nothing more than emotional vomit. And on top of that, pure sensation--nothing more than a big whoopee or a huge goddamn or f**k off.
There is in every discipline a continuum extending from dull simple-mindedness to the extreme, but somewhere in between there is validity. Where one begins and the other ends remains ours to sort out.