A Brush with the Real: Figurative Painting Today

Marc Valli and Margherita Dessanay
Laurence King

This is a beautiful book and charming from the start. Marc Valli’s introduction reminds the reader of the value inherent in painting and its place in the digital world. He talks about the human relationship at the heart of the art form and how it offers a retreat, both for the artist and the viewer, from the digital images that overrun culture. Valli implies that the work behind the painting, the texture and the silence it offers are all implicit within the experience of observing.

Then follows a collection of work, organised vaguely by influence: film culture, still-life and imagined futures. Each contributor showcases a snapshot of their lives, that includes why they paint, why it matters to them, and how, where and what they compose. It’s a beautiful and relaxed approach and results in a gorgeous book, with great images and captivating backstories.

Read it. It will make you want to find a small studio in the woods and start to create. Not to mention you will also discover some exceptional contemporary painters along the way.

Bryony Byrne