Focus On: Still Life

By admin on December 1, 2016

Co|So’s Holiday Small Works 2016 exhibition contains a wide selection of still lifes. A still life is more than a static representation of an object; each conveys a mood, personality, and unique perspective. Below are four very different examples from our exhibition. 

Barney Levitt, Reaching for the Sun, oil on canvas, 19 x 10

A cup of flowers sits dramatically in front of a cloudy background in Reaching for the Sun. While the flowers are still bright and vibrant, most point downwards, nearing the end of their lifespan. However, one pansy, the inspiration for the title of the piece, stands bright and tall. The clouds in the background float low in the sky next to the cloth-covered table, giving the flowers the appearance of sitting at the edge of the world. As the flowers are at the end of the table, they are given a larger than life perspective, appearing as massive and towering as the clouds in the sky.


Richard Field, Hybrid, acrylic on panel, 15 x 12

Robie the robot is a frequent guest in Field’s still lifes. Seated on a toy vehicle that is much larger than him, he overcomes his trepidation and drives a model car in Hybrid. Hard-hat ready and filled with glee, Robie performs a human task; hence the title Hybrid. Field’s work is filled with humor and whimsy and reminds us to take time to admire the details.


Sara-Sue Pennell, Blue Glass, pastel, 10 x 10

Despite the title, it is hard to notice any blue in Pennell’s pastel work at all. Only upon looking closely can you see the blue shadow of the tall vase. In Blue Glass, Pennell plays with light and shadow. While all the objects and the background are the same creamy white color, there are pops of blue and pink where the light hits the glass surface. A streak of purple suggests a dark shadow where the objects rest on the cloth. The small spots of color break up the warmth of the piece and provide a cool contrast. 


Yuka Imata, Homage to Georgia O’Keeffe, Santa Fe, NM, oil on canvas 7 x 5

Any O’Keeffe fan will recognize the ubiquitous cow skull shown here in Imata’s Homage to Georgia O’Keeffe, Santa Fe, NM. Here Imata pays homage to the great American modernist, while staying true to her own style. Like O’Keeffe, Imata has focused on the outside world for her painting. However, a traditional adobe house with an outdoor oven suggests glimpses of domesticity not found in O’Keeffe’s landscapes. Even still, the warm clay colors are true to the great Southwest outdoors.


By Erica Evans