Movements in art have come and gone over the past five-hundred years, yet the genre of still life has remained ever-present. Based in a rich tradition which emphasizes adept artistry and perceptual acumen, the success of the still life relies on the ability of the artist to faithfully re-present his subject while at the same time create an artwork that reveals more than simply the objects depicted. This selection of painters build upon this history, creating hauntingly realistic tributes to truth, beauty, and the sublimity of the human experience.
Still lifes are more than solely works of beauty; historically the genre has always reflected the contemporary values of its society. This exhibition highlights this introspection, with each artist creating specific, yet timeless, tributes to the world we live in. The paintings are self-reflective, combining traditional ideas of vanitas with contemporary concerns—revealing that life, objects, and even the artworks themselves are transient. These concepts emerge in De Biasio’s lush oils of ripened fruits paired with artifacts of man-made detritus, which serve to anchor them firmly in the current day. Beck’s objects have had lives, not only hinting at the untold stories of their past, but also making space for themselves in our collective sentimental psyche, creating underpinnings of social and political themes in his version of deteriorating nostalgia. Conor Walton’s “bread and butter” paintings also examine the vanitas tradition while his more allegorical compositions hint at ecologic and economic attitudes. Ottorino De Lucchi’s exquisite dry brush watercolors as well as Bo Markenholm’s and James Hollinsgworth’s faultless oils, explore ideas of abundance and the pristine through a contrasting minimalistic model.
The success of these works comes from the artists’ ability to truly observe—to see their subjects not simply as moments in time, but as symbols for something beyond the ordinary. Still life continues to be an essential, and ever-evolving genre. This is attributable to the ambitious and forward-thinking works presented in this exhibition. Through their keen observation and impeccable skill, these six artists are progressing the genre, and painting as a media, into the future.
Object Permanence: Contemporary Still Life Painting
Exhibition Dates: Through October 31, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 13, 2018 from 6pm – 9pm
357 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA 94102