2018 Pinellas County Student Surrealist Art Exhibit: “The Marvelous, the Fantastic, & the Grotesque”
Initiated in 1985, this annual art exhibit presents work by middle and high school students who are invited to explore ideas and visions similar to those explored by Dalí and the surrealists.
The Surrealists rejected the norm of early 20th century art, which they saw as mostly traditional and rigid. The group wanted to create a new standard for what art could be—a new standard of beauty, and they did this by exploring the images of their dreams and unconscious minds—the part of ourselves we cannot control or censor. This resulted in a new art, which the Surrealists described as the Marvelous, the Fantastic and the Grotesque.
The Marvelous was this new standard of beauty for the Surrealists. They called it “convulsive beauty” because it is artwork that creates a jolt or shock, a thrilling feeling of disorientation, and wonder. For the Surrealists, strange was beautiful, and the genres of the Fantastic and the Grotesque embodied this idea of beauty.
The Fantastic is a genre described as unusual, surprising and disorienting—qualities that challenge the rational and traditional. It creates a moment of doubt or confusion for the viewer, making him unsure of what he’s seeing. It’s uncanny, the familiar made strange. Something is off, but you can’t seem to put your finger on it. Is it real or imaginary? *
The Grotesque is a genre of art representing the opposite of classical beauty based on the chaotic, the disturbing and the extreme. It can be ugly, but it can also be bizarre, transformative, and exaggerated. The Surrealists used the Grotesque to shock and to disrupt the traditional way of seeing the world.
The Marvelous, the Fantastic and the Grotesque are at the core of what surrealism is. They exist within your unconscious and are as broad as your imagination can take you. With these categories in mind, we invite you to confront the limits of reality, explore your dreams and use surrealist techniques such as symbolism, transformation and juxtaposition to produce your interpretation of the Marvelous, the Fantastic, or the Grotesque.
Special thanks to Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital