4 – 29 March 2020
Opening Wednesday 4 March at 5.30pm
For centuries, artists have been consumed by the challenge of representing the real world. The genre of still life is a record of this engagement, originally defined as the depiction of inanimate objects to consider their formal qualities.
Driving this artistic fascination, has been a need to examine, reflect and immortalise the many objects that populate our immediate surroundings, including both natural and man-made. Through creative interpretation the artist provides intensity to an object that is not normally afforded it. This includes revealing more complex meanings that underpin many still life subjects, through the use of symbols and metaphors.
Many still life works have truly comprehensive themes, that span continents, cultures, as well as centuries. However, there are also themes that are unique to a location and reveal a specific moment in time. This suggests that still life is truly a universal language, but simultaneously has the ability to share personal significance. With its many incarnations, the genre of still life continues to play an important contemporary role in helping to decode the shifting space where culture identity and personality collide.
This exhibition examines how still life continues to be an important component within the work of our artist stable. Through various mediums and styles, each artist interprets the genre differently. However, all use the represented object to comment, explore and reveal to the viewer, more than what meets the eye.
Exhibiting Artists include Lisa Garland, Lorraine Biggs, Wayne Brookes, Maggie Jeffries, Anthea Boden, Mathew Simms, Michael Nay, Lucia Usmiani, Pamela Bristow, Bill Yaxley, Dale Richards, Jacqui Stockdale & Josh Foley.
“I am always interested in daily rituals. The actions that give us purpose and just get us through. I have been documenting these rituals both with the still image and video. My childhood neighbour ‘Peter’ spends his days playing with the wonders of making homemade moonshine. The Bull Kelp harvesters on the West Coast of Tasmania, rain, hail or sunshine haul heavy bull kelp to dry in the strong winds. I relate to both these images as beautiful and honest. When I enter a space for the first time, these are the items I relate to. They entertain me and make me feel good.”
Completed in during Wayne’s recent residency at the Cité Internationale des Arts complex in Paris, these two works represent an interesting development of his renowned practice. For the first time, Wayne has moved away from his realistic renditions of elaborate ornaments and interiors in acrylic and ventured into the realm of watercolour. Both works represent Wayne’s ongoing fascination of elaborate 19thCentury objects and the experience of appreciating the collection of the Musée des Arts Décoratifs first-hand.
“It is really an issue of us and them. Objects are vessels of unlimited resonating power, be it humility or ostentation, they bear witness to secret lives. Still Life as a genre has under-pinned my practice for quite some time. From the metaphoric substitution of Nautilus Cups and Drinking Horns for family, to the historic parallels of the French Second Empire and Colonial Tasmania, the very last thing objects have is a Still Life.”
“Selecting plants as my subjects has always come naturally. As like many artists, we depict the scenes that surround us. Whether it be the gardens I grew up in or intriguing images of botanicals in historical or contemporary art, I have always been drawn to these subjects. Due to the nature and honesty of my work, for me still life creates a moment of silence that becomes shared between the artist and audience. ”
These works reflect on a longing for paradise and vacation. Through Lucia’s meticulous approach to both materials and subject, picture postcard scenes are rendered in plasticine and then preserved within Monkeypod wooden bowls and souvenirs. These works represent Lucia’s ingenious ability to reinterpret the possibilities of everyday materials, tapping into a desire for escape and relaxation, as well as revealing the role objects play in signifying memory and place.
“Within ‘Hat and Tunic’ I have explored the relationships between objects and contextual space. Of particular interest is how objects are displayed in a museum. Here I’m challenged to use paint in ways that best reveal the impact of light and reflection, on still life forms, which are trapped and suspended with glass vitrines.
Accompanying this work are three paintings that focus on table top objects, incorporating vanitas symbols that allude to and the transience of earthly achievements and the inevitability of death. I use snippets and element-shards from collage-based studies to inform the paintings, helping to visualise the allegorical concepts that underpins the work.”
“Humankind has been making objects for thousands of years, both out of necessity and from an appreciation of materials, but also a means to gain wealth. My works depict these everyday objects refashioned out of recycled and reclaimed materials. My titles are deliberately provocative, aimed to remind the viewer of where we are in this point in time and how the everyday decisions we make impact on the earth.”
“Calmness for me is to be still and watch nature go by from my house and studio. My front garden is ocean and sky, each day bringing a new show of weather with all its change of colour and form, responding sea moods and marine wildlife activity. This provides a dynamic backdrop to my own life and objects I collect. Vessels, shells and other items I accumulate provide a more stable and familiar stillness, which I welcome as a counterbalance. I collect things that for me resonate with some presence, and in a sense the objects feel alive.”
‘The photographer was a kind of stage-director who was consciously posed carefully costumed individuals or family groups against a painted studio backdrop, often a landscape with various props’ Excerpt from Victoria Hammond’s essay Familija 2005
Jacqui has an ongoing interest in critiquing colonial symbolism through staged based photography, combining costume and hand-built sets to create complex narratives that carefully marry choreographed theatrics with poignant significance, as well as the mediums of painting and photography. Familija marked a pivotal milestone in Jacqui’s practice and is now seen as a catalyst for the ongoing direction of her creative focus. There have been numerous publications covering individual images as well as a selection of editions from Familija included in a survey show at the Benalla Art Gallery.
This suite of photographs is the only complete set Stockdale’s Familija series. Sold only as the full suite of fourteen photographs.