An international jury exhibition of contemporary still lifes opens at the Bluegrass Art Center – The Advocate-Messenger
Program of still lifes for all ages highlighted this fall
BLUEGRASS ART CENTER
“The Object Seen: Contemporary Still Life” opened on September 15 and runs through October 30 at the Art Center of the Bluegrass, one of Kentucky’s premier art exhibition spaces. The exhibition celebrates one of the oldest traditions in the history of art, the study and practice of still life as a subject. This exhibition showcases both traditional realism and more experimental contemporary techniques and welcomes a variety of media.
The exhibition is presented by a jury of nationally recognized artist, Sheldon Tapley. Tapley is a Stodghill professor of art at Center College, where he has taught painting and drawing throughout his career and is a master of still life. His works have been exhibited and collected in public institutions across the country.
“Tapley masterfully blends the discipline of hard-earned classical technique with an utterly modern and personal vision,” Bill Creevy wrote in American Artist.
“We are delighted to bring together this group of contemporary still life works, with the help of a still life master like Sheldon Tapley. The purchase of Sheldon’s Still Life with Flowers, for the permanent collection of the Art Center, was the inspiration for the theme of this exhibition, ”said Niki Kinkade, Executive Director of the Art Center.
When selecting the works submitted for the exhibition, Tapley noted that a major theme was “the contrast between very personal, even intimate, and neutral, fabricated, very impersonal objects.”
Still life is at the same time very old, going back to the Egyptian frescoes, and completely modern by representing our glut of “stuff”. Tapley said: “The things we have describe us. Thus, artists describing things describe themselves and the world around them by reflex.
Twenty-four works by 22 artists have been selected and reflect and express the theme of contemporary still life while demonstrating creativity, strength of execution and overall artistic excellence. Artists hail from Kentucky, Tennessee, Florida, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma and all the way to Ontario, Canada, becoming one of the Art Center’s most geographically diverse exhibits. last years.
Commentary on the pandemic and its effects on the artist and society is a recurring theme.
Describing his piece, “Still Life with Inedibles,” a black and white photograph of rotten fruit, Louisville artist Mitch Eckert comments that “the lonely nature of making photographs feels right now. And making art out of decaying objects and seeking out their latent beauty seems to be a digest of our particular moment in time. “
“The pandemic has shown us how quickly our lives and our perspectives can change. Most of us have found ourselves living, working and going to school in our homes and using our creativity to adapt and find comfort, ”wrote artist Jackie Lucas of Louisville, Kentucky, describing his exhibition photograph, “Wardrobe 2020”.
Other artists were interested in the concept of the title.
“I was intrigued by the title of this show because it matched my job so well,” New Hampshire artist Tracy Meola wrote. “L’Objet vu reminds me of the transparent glass objects that I love to paint so much. The object is there and can be seen, but because it is transparent it can also be seen through. So often there are colors reflected in the glass that we see but don’t realize they are there. We have objects all around us and in Still Life paintings they become much more than ordinary objects, they become seen.
Regional art supply company DecoArt sponsors monetary prizes for the show’s top three entries, which range from $ 500 to $ 100. “DecoArt has been supporting artists, makers and DIY enthusiasts for over 35 years. As a Kentucky-based arts and crafts paint manufacturer, we were thrilled to have the opportunity to support the Art Center of the Bluegrass and its mission to showcase regional artists in our region. We can’t think of anything more appropriate, ”says Elizabeth Hurst, Marketing Manager at DecoArt.
Additionally, Danville artist Wayne Daugherty will present his exhibit The Object Obsession in the upstairs gallery in conjunction with The Object Seen exhibit. His “sculptures” are made of EVA (ethyl vinyl acetate) foam. Visitors will recognize pieces from Star Wars, Wall-E, and The Iron Giant to name a few. They are built with foam, painted with a primer, then acrylics. He builds them with cutters, Dremel tools and super glue or contact glue as well as pipe and wood for the internal support.
“Careful observation and engagement with the subject is what appeals to me,” Daugherty writes in his exhibition statement. “The challenge is to see the objects in a unique way. Look beyond the object itself and see the beauty of the details that make the object more than just an object.
Currently, the Art Center plans to host the public opening of The Object Seen: Contemporary Still Life and The Object Obsession on Friday, September 24 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Social distancing and masks required.
Autumn still life program:
• Sheldon Tapley: The Object Seen Lunch with the Arts event
Wednesday September 22, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Virtual program via Zoom
• Youth workshop on still life
Thursdays, Sept. 23 and 30, 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.
• Workshop on still life with Sheldon Tapley
Saturday, October 2, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.