“Jug Life: New Contemporary Still Life” Curated by Andrew Schoultz and Patrick Martinez at Park Life Gallery

by Admin on 06/03/2015

Traditionally, the still life artwork was considered the lowest in the hierarchy of visual arts subject matter. Paintings depicting religious and historical events, portraiture, genre, and even landscape painting were held in higher academic regard. Yet, on the cusp of what is now viewed as the nascence of modern painting, still lifes began to become recognized for their depth and complexity; rife with symbolism; demanding just as considerable skill as other paintings, and arguably demanding greater abstract thinking and imaginative approach on the part of both artist and viewer. Featuring work from over 70 contemporary artists, Jug Life: New Contemporary Still Life at Park Life Gallery organized by curators and fellow exhibiting artists, Andrew Schoultz and Patrick Martinez illustrates not simply the status quo of the subject matter category, but how the once disfavored subject has been transformed throughout the progression of art history into a treasured and integral part of the story of visual arts.

The multiple perspectives of still lifes presented salon-style by a diversity of artists, local and national, on the gallery’s walls in painting, sculpture, and mixed media, emphasize the complexity, lasting appeal, and significance of still life now. From Erin Riley’s textile tapestry of objects to Adam 5100’s multiple layers of stencil and cut-out work, the technical and conceptual achievements in Jug Life reveal the kaleidoscope of contemporary perspectives. Advancing well beyond conventional ideas, the work in this group show reveals an broad, inclusive view of the subject.  Many works ,  like Brian Willlmont’s mystical-looking candelabra that seems to float around its abstract background, refute the parochial view of still life as simply a veristic imitation of what lies in front of the artist. Artists also expand upon the demand for technical skill in still lifes in a way that reveals the beauty in everyday objects, like Libby Black’s trompe l’oeil sculpture.  Jug Life at Park Life Gallery emphasizes why still life continues to be an important mode of expression, and remains a significant tool for innovation.


Jug Life: New Contemporary Still Life is on view at Park Life Gallery, 3049 22nd St. (at Shotwell) through June 28th.