I first saw one of Ron Mueck's hyper-realistic sculptures in 2002 at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. I had the sensation that the naked, bald man, crouched in a corner of the room, might lift himself up off his haunches at any moment... which would have been especially disconcerting since he was nearly double life size.
Ron started as a model maker for Jim Henson, sculpting creatures for films such as Labyrinth. He eventually made the transition to fine art, where he has honed his SFX skills to create flawless human figures, perfect down to the hair follicles, moles and callouses. The sense of realism comes in part from the translucent quality of the flesh: he painstakingly builds up layer upon layer of tinted silicone, embedding veins and blemishes below the surface, giving the skin depth and dimension.
It would be tempting to dismiss Ron's work as a technically sound parlour trick – if it weren't for the emotion his work draws from viewers. He uses scale to alter the expected emotional relationship between the viewer and subject. He chose to reduce his sculpture of the naked corpse of his father to only 3 feet in length, diminishing his father in death; meanwhile, a 30 foot long newborn baby dominated a room at Ron's current exhibit at Ottawa's National Gallery.
(The show at the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa runs until May 6, 2007.)
You can read more about Ron's work on wikipedia. Visit the external links at the bottom of the page to see more of his work.
Click to view Ron Mueck on Wikipedia
Meanwhile, the link below has a very good Flash gallery of his work.
Click to view Flash gallery of Ron's work