Still and other forms of life


 There are a variety of themes and media used here. Still life can often be dismissed as having a purely domestic or decorative association – as if these were bad things. Over the past two years I’ve used still life to explore the precariousness and transience of nature by setting everyday objects in unsettling places – beneath a cliff, on a rock shelf. The meditative time that goes into developing the work and the objects themselves starts this going – I don’t predetermine the setting or the ‘purpose’ of the still life.

Margaret Preston’s respect for the still life and its execution is self-evident in her work but she also described the persistence of still life into modern art  … ‘they (still life paintings) are really laboratory tables on which aesthetic problems can be isolated.’ 

Finding this quote was a revelation to me – for the first time I had read something that captures an actual struggle faced when setting down a bowl and some innocent fruit to paint. Although there is a necessary exercise in representation, over time and with closer examination each object becomes laden with association, meaning and significance.

 

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