Label Text: Pearlstein is the one of the foremost "Realist" painters in America, sometimes called "Hard Realist". He paints the human figure directly, close-up, in large scale, making no effort to glamorize it. Note his daughter slouching on the couch, her bulgy knees, pudgy fingers, and puffy cheeks in sharp focus, showing her as real and human. He perceives his model objectively, without comment or extraneous ideas.
His models are always seen from a distance of about five feet. The effect of this short, visual distance on representation of space is that the rapidly decreasing size of objects from foreground to background intensifies the sense of space. The tactile three-dimensional volume of the subject is often contrasted with two-dimensional patterned elements, such as the couch.
The lack of action or interrelation between the models and the arbitrary cropping in Pearlstein's pictures imply an artificial situation which somehow gives the impression of unreality, even though the figure is presented in a manner utterly faithful to reality.