There's a wonderful article today in the New York Times written by Jason Farago. Part of the Close Read series, it examines the history of still life painting and shows that there is more to it than meets the eye.
Farago is fascinated by still life paintings, as am I. The symbolism found within them, the cultural and social significance of their contents, their reference to mortality, ... I address some of these same ideas in the banquet paintings in my HEADS series, modeled after some of the 17th c. Dutch still life paintings discussed in this article.
Below: Still Life with a Gilt Cup, by Willem Claesz Heda.
Here is one of my banquet paintings, Still Life with Deer Head: Vanity 1.
Paintings like this one explore contemporary ideas relating to the excesses of unrestrained capitalism, the environmental and social costs of luxury goods, the depletion of natural resources, the exploitation of animals, and the illegal trade of endangered wildlife and antiquities for the acquisition of money and power. The items rendered are symbols of extravagant wealth, exploitation, power, and mortality.
To see more of the work from the HEADS series, click here.