During the 17th century, still life painting surfaced as a distinctive thematic genre. And, for nearly five hundred years, the appeal of its flourishing flora and abundant fare has remained constant. Although still life painting has never received the critical recognition of other subjects — for example, the portrait or the landscape — lifelike portrayals of the everyday created by highly skilled artists elevated the style to a lasting popular appreciation. This imagery, however, has proven to be more than merely a case of art imitating life. Instead, a system of allegorical symbolism and hidden meanings behind the selection and arrangements of the objects denotes conceptual strategies that resonate with enthusiasts.
For the Love of Things: Still Life, which includes works selected predominantly from the Albright-Knox Art Gallery’s renowned collection, considers the more recent history of the still life. As contemporary artists continue to seek news ways to interpret our visual comprehension of the ordinary, social and political themes stand alongside more traditional motifs such as beauty, bounty, and fragility. In the 20th- and 21st-centuries, meticulousness has given way to new media, photography, the moving image, and, more recently, large-scale installations that regenerate prosaic entities in the third dimension. Where objects were once elegantly rendered in careful brushstrokes, they are now larger than life, fragmented and reassembled.
This is the third exhibition in a series of collection-based installations that considers the trajectory of traditionally defined genres in art and the ways in which they continue to flourish while often being challenged and, in many ways, transformed.
The exhibition will comprise more than fifty-five works in all mediums, featuring 19th-, 20th- and 21st-century artists.
Exhibition overview from museum website