A still life can be a celebration of the things around us, a formal interest in composition, pattern and color, or a memento mori. In the arrangement of objects, an artist can engage with any of these intents.
a reminder of memories, of life lived through material things
A still life can be arranged or stumbled upon in daily life. For these artists, their subjects are both seen and composed.
Colin Page's tabletop scenes are a portrait of family life. Craft supplies, novels, snacks, and toys are the remnants of a busy day. He arranges objects looking for color harmonies and patterns, creating a cohesive painting that celebrates daily life.
Terry Powers creates a flower still life, but nestles it into the world of his home. He is a witness to his surroundings. An easel is used as a table, a packing tube leans against the wall, a basketball sits discarded in the corner. He does not hide the presence of family and studio life in his arrangements, but celebrates it.
a means to contemplate composition, color and pattern
The subject of a still life can have as much to do with the interaction of shapes and color as with the objects depicted. Space can be flattened, tabletops tipped over, forms repeated, and color and pattern emphasized.
Gail Spaien's tabletop is a stage for subtly shifting colors and patterns. The juxtaposition of warm and cool colors vibrate, patterns shimmer and energize the painting.
Trevor Winkfield is interested in an arrangement of shapes and color, referencing but not defining real objects. The still life is more graphic than narrative, objects taking a backseat to his sense of design.
a reminder of the shortness and fragility of life
Still Life in French is nature morte, translated as “dead nature.” The subject is a moment of time given permanence, a reminder of the brevity of life, asking us to pause and look more closely.
Anneli Skaar’s meticulous glazing of thin layers of paint ennobles the humble mackerel. Her rich colors and singular composition lend reverence to the subject.
Tim Conte’s academic painting pairs classic still life forms with modern accessories, the subject grappling with time. His title additionally asks the viewer to consider, What is There? What is it Like? His painting feels both existential and playful, a memento mori with awareness of the trope..