Many people seem to think that in regard to super-realism, the medium is the message. No; I would say that if you look at Max Ferguson's stuff, it has a kind of urban mysticism the way that Caspar David Friedrich's stuff had a natural or rural mysticism.
I think the key to taking in what Ferguson is conveying is the fact that he always paints people in a super-clean, and I mean super-duper, super super duper anti-septic setting. Look at this guy on a subway platform.
Folks, if that platform were, indeed, that spotless, the MTA station workers would deserve their bloated salaries.
The anti-septic nature of the environment in Ferguson's work seems to create an even greater sense in the viewer of temporality. It's the essence of city life - permanence and transition. That station is going to be there years after this guy is dead.
It's better to see Ferguson's paintings at Henoch. I wish, for instance, I could show you a close up of the guy's face at 34th street.
Here's another example of an anti-septic stage where folks strut and fret their hour:
Yes, that' a painting.
I love this next painting of a man surrounded by books. Even the overwhelming number of books he has piled in front of him does not disturb the tranquility established through the super-realistic style.
Is this a person who has fled the real work and lives in his books, or is this a person deeply involved in the processes of life searching for an answer?
Here's an elderly man who has stopped by his local (completely sanitized) diner to grab a bite to eat.
And here's a man absorbed in a life without the latest gadgets.
Here are 3 famous paintings by Caspar David Friedrich, who was a German "Romantic" painter of the 1800s.