311 Gallery presents Creating Art from the Stillness of Life

Greg Knott, Collapsing S’mores

Greg Knott, Collapsing S’mores

Margot Holloman, Heartstrings 1 Tiffany & Co

Margot Holloman, Heartstrings 1 Tiffany & Co

Maria Ruggiero, Sea Creatures

Maria Ruggiero, Sea Creatures

Jody Cukier, At the Heart of It

Jody Cukier, At the Heart of It

Creating Art from the Stillness of Life

Still Lifes are either loved or hated by those who create them and those that view them; there appears to be no middle ground. They are not easy works. Traditionally trained artists at one point or another create a Still Life as a result of an innate drive, from curiosity, or as a response to an assignment. I can say that my Still Lifes, although a labor of love, were a labor.

“Still Lifes reveal the habits, thoughts and aspirations of art patrons…and reflect changes in society and shifting cultural trends” – Norbert Schneider.

The Still Life is a work of art typically depicting a collection of common inanimate objects that may or may not have been arranged by the artist.  The challenge of these works is to create interest and movement in a work that is by definition, still.

Early examples of Still Life works appear in Greek and Roman mosaics and Roman Wall paintings, some of which were unearthed in the excavation of Pompeii. It is amazing that the traditional glass bowl of fruit can be found in these existing ancient works! For a time, Still Lifes fell out of favor but they reappeared in the Middle Ages and Renaissance.

During the 17th century, the first schools of art were appearing and the “hierarchical canon of the genres” was being established. The Still Life was given the lowest ranking, possibly because these artworks were considered lowly reproductions of leftovers and things that did not move. By contrast, the most elevated works were considered to be histories; Biblical, mythical and state. At the same time the genres were being defined, artists were asserting their own opinions and began to challenge the hierarchical canon; the term Still Life first appears, in the Netherlands.

The Still Life experienced a resurgence in popularity in the early 19th century with the rise of the Impressionists when paintings became more about mood, with color harmony and interesting variations in perspective triumphing over subject matter. Since its resurgence, the Still Life has gone through many variations from the startlingly un-naturalistic abstract to the ultra-realistic American trompe-l’oeil; from the Dada movement’s 3-D ready-made sculptures to Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans. The 21st century has introduced the realm of mixed media, employing found objects, photography, computer graphics, video and audio; a Still Life can fill an entire room in a gallery and easily incorporate the viewer into the work.

As time and styles have progressed and changed, the Still Life has endured. Every art movement has addressed this genre in a unique manner. 311 Gallery has invited artists from around the country to explore the Still Life by participating in There’s Still Life in Still Lifes, a juried exhibition that will be held May 2 – June 1, 2019.

These are the pieces in the banner:

Sandra Blake, Chaos at the Dinghy Dock

Gregory Porcaro, Hoola Monkey and Friends

Mary Mallory, HOPE


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