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The Still Life, Past and Present

Artsy Editorial
Jan 23, 2013 3:27PM

This skillful and meticulous still life by François Desportes, entitled Le Déjeuner Maigre, or The Meager Breakfast, like so many other still lifes, served not only to display Desportes’ technical ability and artistry, but, according to the Norton Simon Museum’s 2012 exhibition “Significant Objects: The Spell of Still Life”, the canvas is additionally “coded with meaning and allegory.” 

Indeed, while the genre may have firm roots in the past, its potency and dynamism hold sway today, as contemporary artists like Ben Schonzeit and Sharon Core continue to modernize and manipulate the aesthetic. Israeli artist Ori Gersht, who has created mesmerizing films of exploding still lifes, claims that he is drawn to the dynamism and polarities he considers inherent in these artworks: “I’m interested [in] those oppositions of attraction and repulsion, and how the moment of destruction in the exploding flowers becomes for me the moment of creation.”

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Jenna Gribbon, Luncheon on the grass, a recurring dream, 2020. Jenna Gribbon, April studio, parting glance, 2021. Jenna Gribbon, Silver Tongue, 2019