Everything is broken.

— Bob Dylan

Philosopher Bernard Stiegler calls ours The Age of Disruption.

Everything is broken.

That insight is perhaps what lures me to the movement known as Disrupted Realism.

Disrupted Realism, which embraces the idea that “the power of chaos rivals the power of order,” has deep art-historic roots, as artist James Gurney observes.

Among others, Disrupted Realists borrow from the paintings of Francis Bacon, Richard Diebenkorn, Andrew Wyeth, Richard Schmid, and Gerhard Richter—all favorites of mine.

Disruptive Realists paint realistically, yes; but they efface reality, smashing edges, smearing surfaces, and breaking the illusion of forms in space.

Among contemporary Disrupted Realists, three of the finest, for my money, are Patrick Lee, Ollie Le Broq and Ans Debije. Their work enchants me.

“Disrupted Realism isn’t exactly a style and it may not even be a tendency,” says art critic John Seed.

The painters who are drawn to it are Classical Realists repelled by the hegemony of the photograph.

“Their probing and inventive art says something about the possibilities of painting in an era when realism, once a scarce and highly prized commodity produced by highly trained and skilled artists, has become something that anyone with a Smartphone can produce and disseminate in seconds,” Seed says.

“It is entirely possible that when future art historians look back at the phenomenon of Disrupted Realism they will see a group of artists who used painting to represent inner truths during a time when easy mechanical realism was so often used in the service of lies.”

Above. The Seven Ups by Robert Francis James. Oil on fiberboard. 8 x 10 inches. Apertivio by Ans Debije. Oil on fiberboard. 7 x 5 inches. Books with Jar. by Ollie Le Brocq. Oil on fiberboard. 12 x 12 inches.

Below. Birthday Variation by Patrick Lee. Oil on canvas. 36 x 48 inches.