NATURE MORTE

The title for body of work is inspired by the french term for still life, which directly translated means dead nature. I am intrigued by Dutch golden age still life paintings, and how despite the vibrancy and life-like quality, they are intrinsically linked to decay. Still life and Vanitas are meant to serve as a reminder of the transience of life, yet the paintings themselves are far less subject to the ravages of time than the subjects they portray. In this work in progress I fragment, draw and reassemble an image of a dutch flower painting by Jan Van Huysm titled Still Life with Flowers and Fruit. The flowers, fruit and insects in the work were first drawn by the artist, then amassed in a painting; bringing together elements which could never have existed simultaneously in the 1700s. The painting is dynamic and detailed, yet imaginary.

The physical work lives at the National Gallery of Art in Washington DC but, since it was photographed, it also exists as widely disseminated digital images. These forms have the potential to exist indefinitely. By drawing the piece from such an image, I turn myself into a machine for reproduction and add another filter through which the work is processed, as I dissect, distort and make it anew. Although Still Life with Flowers and Fruit may look like a real bouquet, it is a painting in which the artist traps doomed flowers into a new, longer lasting form. My drawing may look like it is of flowers, or a painting, but my pencil does not record nature's curves and shadows, or an artist’s brush strokes, but pixels on a screen. Drawing it returns the image to less permanent form, longer lasting than petals, but far more precarious than it's digital or even painted forms.