Today I want to examine Still Life paintings by looking at a couple of contemporary artists who enjoy creating in this genre.
First up is English pastel artist Jan Munro from the market town of Chesham in Buckinghamshire.
In an excellent article Domestic Space: Still Life Paintings by Jan Munro, John A. Parks describes Jan's pastel works as creating scenes full of visual appeal and says:
English artist Jan Munro re-creates the quiet pleasures of pleasing domestic interiors in her deftly simplified pastel still life paintings. Seemingly chance arrangements of flowers, ceramics, fruit, fabrics and furnishings summon a home life where food and drink, floral arrangements, and treasured objects combine to create an inviting and sensually satisfying atmosphere. 2
Instead of presenting a full realistic account of her subjects, Munro chooses to simplify the forms in her still life paintings. She modifies shapes in her compositions so that they become more square and devoid of much of their detail. She also flattens the space of the setting, avoiding the conventions of perspective, a strategy that allows her to compose the painting as a flat design. “The objects I choose are simple,” says the artist. “I don’t like elaborate stuff. I tend to reduce them into almost box-like shapes. Then I break those flat shapes into areas where I see reflected color, highlights or different tones.”2
Here is the bookmark link to the article by John A. Parks. And if you are a Facebook Follower you might like to check out her page by clicking here.
The other contemporary still life artist is Canadian Holly Coulis who seems to paint predominantly in oil on linen and I think lives and works in Athens, Georgia.
For Holly Coulis, the appeal of painting still lifes is in stillness itself. “In other genres (even abstraction), there is paused movement,” she said. “A still life was still before it was painted, and after. Until someone or something comes to rearrange or to disturb it.” Such compositions feel “intimate and personal” to her. Looking at Coulis’s still lifes, a viewer is gazing at an unseen character’s private things. Solidly colored lemons, vases, cigarettes, knives, and cats dance around Coulis’s canvases, cheerfully bumping against one another. The artist outlines her forms many times in varied, bold hues, giving them radiant, vibrational auras. Pop art, Cubism, and abstraction inform the flat color, geometry, “off perspective,” and playfulness in Coulis’s paintings. 3
If you are interested in contemporary still life paintings you might like to check out this excellent showing from artsy.net.
I do hope you have enjoyed the posts on Still Life. In a couple of days I will put an Australian perspective on this genre.