Nature Morte Submissions Open
“The fragility of life is a potent subcategory. It’s an idea that traditional still-life painters expressed centuries ago through blossoms on the verge of maturity and the onset of decay—and one that contemporary artists are eager to heighten and extend.” Rachel Wolff, 2014.
Nature Morte aims to reinterpret Golden Age Dutch still life paintings. Still Life traditionally attempts to preserve the ephemeral through meticulously accurate depictions of organic material in different stages of decay. These paintings often represent mortality and the passing of time. My current practice Deliquesce consists of a series of performance sculptures that feature wildflowers encapsulated within ice that thaw over long periods of time. These sculptures are filmed melting and unfurling in time lapse feature. Deliquesce creates a juxtaposition of Still Life by physically recording a passage of time and also presenting the undoing or death of something as a creative act. Nature Morte will attempt to expand on this idea and revel in the paradox.
Contemporary artists (such as Rob and Nick Carter, Mat Collishaw, Marc Quinn and Saara Ekstrom) are utilising the format to add gravitas to modern visual art. Contemporary context of Still Life will be imperative to the relevance of the exhibition. I will be looking for artists that challenge perception by utilising tropes of the genre to discuss current topics. For example my current practice Deliquesce was initially a response to environmental concerns; in particular the statistic that 97% of British wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930’s. The work aims to examine the fragility of this ecosystem through ice as metaphor and to lament on other natural environments and their decline. Mortality in Still Life can provide a visual representation of climate change and global ecological issues. The death of a flower or bee for instance, also represents the death of humankind. This is one reinterpretation, and I would like artists to consider the contemporary context of Nature Morte.
“The issues of death and time and consumption are key to the genre... they’re all issues that remain central to us today, maybe even more so because of the frenetic activity of modern life”—and the issues of waste, haste, war, and globalization embedded therein.” Paul Martineau, 2014.
I will be inviting artists to respond to the contradiction of Still Life and to capture the relevance of Still Life in contemporary society. Nature Morte will be seeking immersive artwork that challenges the perceptions of Still Life. I am looking for and not limited to, video work, performance art, performance of changing sculptures, installation, sound pieces, spoken word, photography, textiles, painting, print and mixed media art.
Video: Deliquesce, 2017, Heather Griffin, Organic Materials, Water.