Shelf Life

A subtle take on the tradition of still life...

Art News from Australia. Published by MAY SPACE on Tuesday 12 February 2019.

Al Munro - Homage to the everyday, black and white, 2018 image Mylyn Nguyen - to all the ladybugs I killed,  2019 image Peter Tilley - Memories of Times Past #4, 2019 image

Shelf Life will consider the still life genre, with a particular focus on representations of bottles and containers, ubiquitous items that we use to carry, preserve and contain.

An artistic linchpin since the 16th Century, the lush bouquets, glistening silver vessels, ripe fruit and lifeless game animals of early still life paintings became more humble as Realism, Impressionism and then Cubism watched artistic subjects and techniques change. The genre took on a three dimensional form through Dada, and as shopping carts began to fill with more packaged produce in the 1950s and 1960s, many Pop Artists let consumer goods take centre stage. Shelf Life will display paintings, photographs, sculptures and video artworks that aesthetically speak to different moments in the history of the still life. Hoarded, forgotten and expiring on shelves and in sheds, the vessels we use to store liquids, medications, toxic chemicals, food and other substances will be the central subject matter of these traditional and contemporary takes on an art historical genre.