“Imaginative Realism” at the Delaware Art Museum

It’s fantasy—for real.

“Imaginative Realism” combines classical painting techniques with narrative subjects, focusing on the unreal, the unseen and the impossible. The Delaware Art Museum is partnering with IX Arts organizers to host the first IX Preview Weekend Sept. 23–25 at the museum, celebrating Imaginative Realism and to kick off IX9—the annual groundbreaking art show, symposium and celebration dedicated solely to the genre.

Imaginative Realism is the cutting edge of contemporary painting and illustration. It often includes themes related to science fiction and fantasy movies, games, and books. A pop-up exhibition and the weekend of events will feature more than 16 contemporary artists internationally recognized for their contributions to “Star Wars,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “Avatar,” Marvel, DC Comics, Blizzard Entertainment and Wizards of the Coast, among others. The weekend will include after-hours events, performances, exclusive workshops with artists, talks, film screenings, artist signings, live demos, and games. The artists represented include Greg Hildebrandt, illustrator of the original “Star Wars” poster; Boris Vallejo, who is famous for his illustrations of Tarzan and Conan the Barbarian; Charles Vess, whose award-winning work graced the covers of Marvel and DC Comics; and Donato Giancola, known for his paintings for Lucasfilm, DC Comics, Playboy Magazine, and the Syfy Channel. 

Other featured artists include Julie Bell, Bob Eggleton, Rebecca Leveille-Guay, Ruth Sanderson, Jordu Schell, Matthew Stewart, William O’Connor, David Palumbo, Dorian Vallejo, Michael Whelan and Mark Zug. Each artist will present original work in the pop-up show, covering the gamut from illustration through personal/gallery work in a wide range of mediums. All artists represented will be present at the Museum over the course of the weekend. “When the museum approached us about the possibility of doing an IX Weekend, we were immediately struck by the appropriateness of this particular partnership,” says IX Arts co-founder Patrick Wilshire. “The Delaware Museum holds the country’s finest collection of Pre-Raphaelite art and is also the definitive home for Howard Pyle and Brandywine illustrators. Many contemporary Imaginative Realist artists’ work is founded in these past traditions.”

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The Imaginative Realism tradition harkens back to many of the great 19th century Romantic, Pre-Raphaelite and Victorian artists such as John Martin, Edward Burne-Jones and John William Waterhouse, and moves through many of the great Golden Age illustrators of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Howard Pyle and N.C. Wyeth, both well-represented in the museum’s collection. Rarely seen fantasy works from Pyle and other Golden Age illustrators will be displayed in the museum’s permanent collection galleries during IX Preview Weekend. With the mass exposure to imaginative subjects that has come with science fiction and fantasy movies, games, and books throughout the 20th century and up to the present, the imagery of these artists is more deeply embedded in the public consciousness and popular culture than ever before.

Learn more at the show. Check www.delart.org.

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