The exact color of that Ginger Ale can is important to artist Sara Cwynar. Her work revolves around the careful curation of both fantastic and banal objects. She arranges and later photographs these assemblages, which range from color studies to chaotic interpretations of old works of art.
You might be familiar with 16th and 17th century Dutch Flower paintings. If not, then they are exactly as they sound; Still life paintings of flower arrangements. They are colorful and realistically rendered pictures. Their realism is almost boring, until you find out that these paintings were meant to brighten up the interior of homes during the winter months when real flowers were dead. In her Flat Death series, Cwynar took old reproduced pictures of these flowers and overtop placed it with the likes of cheap plastic toys, fake leaves, rolls of tape, and dish gloves. A sophisticated painting is recreated out of junk, creating a cognitive dissonance.
Color Studies is another still life series. Instead of parodying of an already existing work, Cwynar gathers objects of a similar color. They include old marching band uniforms, encyclopedias, lemons, old slide film, cigarettes, and so much more. Photographs feel really dated, like a teenager’s room in the 1970’s. This is Cwynar’s intention. In an interview with Lavalette, she states:
I thought a lot about the aesthetic patterns you see in these pictures – a particular lighting, a slickness, a high level of detail. I’m also trying to recycle and subvert conventions of product and commercial photography by using elements that aren’t normally associated with these genres – objects that are now discarded or forgotten, intentional scuffing, not glossy at all.
It’s easy to be intrigued by Cwynar’s work. She utilizes conventional objects and through assemblage, allows us to experience them in a new way.
Montreal-based artist Francois Chartier creates still-life paintings with a photorealistic quality. He often pairs the still-life object with an image of crumpled tissue paper that is dramatically shaped around each object, creating an overall presentation of the still-life object. The juxtaposition of these textures – matte and crumpled with the bright and shiny – demonstrates Chartier’s level of skill as a realistic painter. Surprisingly, Chartier hasn’t always been a painter. After 30 years in advertising as a commercial artist, he entered the fine art world full-time at the age of 50.
Chartier applies the acrylic paint with an airbrush onto a smooth gesso base. He explains, “Although my paintings are realistic, my goal is to create through the layering of mediums and the play of the brush, the illusion of depth and sense of presence beyond what is found in photographs. . . I am drawn to painting large scale works where my subjects, always painted bigger then life size, are given room to seize the viewer and where life’s smaller details are revealed in their beauty and simplicity.” (via juxtapoz)
Pawel Bownik meticulously pulls each flower apart: disconnecting the leaf from the stem or the petal from the pistil, taking involved notes all the while, so he can, eventually, reassemble each piece back to its original state. His photography, collected here, documents such reconstructions. From far away, each image blooms and seethes with life. However, with a steadier eye, up close, we see pencil marks, bits of string, tape, and pins holding it all together. Like some strange sort of floral Frankenstein, the dead is regenerated.
Doug Bloodworth’s photo realistic oil paintings transport us to another slower, calmer, and less anxious time. Whether it’s a still life depiction of the Sunday Funnies sprinkled with candies or a road atlas paired with matches and a roll of mints, we can’t help but feel nostalgic for our own quiet tactile interludes and luxuries minus the iPhone or Blackberry.
Nick Krijno makes blown out contemporary still lives that are the best things to look at. Made out of hot dogs, slinkies, spiders, and clothes, his images update the classic tradition in a way that everyone can get relate to and get behind. It’s a great, inspirational reminder that if you’re ever feeling down about the your staid surroundings, just organize them into an interesting composition, make a backdrop out of your friends’ shirts or some colored paper, and voilá–you’ve got yourself a modern still life. Now just paint it or take a picture of it or take a note from yoko ono and burn it. (via)
Cara DeAngelis paints found roadkill in “compositions that both pay homage to, and satirize 17th century Hunting Still Lifes”. “The still lifes and portraits of animals on aristocratic laps explore the long-standing confrontations between the domestic and the wild.” But DeAngelis’ black magic goes a little further than that. The artist, who takes care to incorporate the “Tragic and the Infantile” within her work, includes children’s toys and dolls in her compositions to create an “absurd union“- nostalgia vs. violent death, innocence vs. murder. These paintings are done in oil, which somehow seems appropriate for the heavy concept scale within DeAngelis’ work. Ms. DeAngelis received her MFA from the New York Academy of Art in 2011.
Rony Alwin is oftentimes associated with his company Rony’s Photobooth, which sets up photo stations at parties all across the world. However, he somewhat secretly has been taking incredible and iconic pictures of uniquely American still-lifes and landscapes all along, which he encounters while road tripping across the States. His crisp and clean photos of American Flags and abandoned typewriters tell unspoken stories that really pull you in and allow you to create your own narratives around them. I, for one, was totally blown away when I stumbled across these on his personal website and can’t wait for him to release some prints. I mean, yes, his other sites are always exciting to check out, but this set of photos mark a maturity that really showcases his talent and eye for the interesting.
Dane Lovett mixes retro and modern electronics with the tried and true classic, floral still life, to create a completely modern take on the idea of “still life”. His work looks into modern relationships with technology and pulls at the strings of technology of days past. Each piece is serene and intriguing, feeling both familiar and new all at once.