RAM Explores the Still Life as a Theme in
Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora Mace, Fruit Still Life, 1990, Glass and Alder wood, Racine Art Museum, Gift of Dale and Doug Anderson
Inspired by the concurrent Ruth Grotenrath and Schomer Lichtner exhibition, and in recognition of the enduring presence of the still life as a theme in art, the Racine Art Museum presents Not So Still Life: 3D and 2D from RAM's Collection. Open February 4 through June 5, 2011, this exhibition emphasizes still life subject matter.
This show combines works on paper-watercolors, graphics and photographs-with sculptural objects from RAM's collection. In addition to addressing the concept of still life in various ways, it reveals the diversity of the collection. Works included are realistic, abstract and even surrealistic, by artists with regional, national and international reputations, such as Matt Eskuche, Tony Hepburn, James Makins, Bernard Palchick, Judith La Scola, John Wilde and Roberta Williamson.
Still life paintings have a rich history in art. Artists would use the process of creating a still life as an academic exercise to explore composition, color, light, texture and shadow. At various times, the realistic objects that were included in a still life were also recognized as having specific cultural, metaphorical, or even religious value. For example, many now famous Dutch still lifes represent flowers that had symbolic significance, as well as aesthetic merit. Modern and contemporary artists have incorporated still life subjects into their bodies of work for numerous reasons-as reflections of their own everyday lives or life in general; as meditations about capitalism and the presence of objects; as exercises in form, content and composition; and as symbolic images.
With the range of objects available in RAM's permanent collection, the museum presents contemporary artists that have responded to still lifes realistically or abstractly, as well as "vignettes" of objects grouped as still life compositions according to subject matter or visual characteristics. Objects are arranged in non-traditional ways in order to encourage guests to view these works in new and, perhaps, unexpected contexts. For example, Farraday Ayne Newsome's fruit-encrusted teapot is juxtaposed with Joey Kirkpatrick and Flora Mace's Fruit Still Life in homage to the presence of fruit in so many historical still lifes. Ettore Sottsas' silver-plated Murmansk Fruit Dish is paired with the metallic woven-mesh baskets of Chunghi Choo to explore "luster" and objects that evoke luxury.
Not So Still Life opens Friday, February 4 during the museum's Free First Friday in February. Visitors enjoy free RAM admission from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. In addition, everyone is invited to participate in a free family hands-on art event on Saturday, February 5, 1:00 to 4:00 pm, to create magnificent artwork inspired by RAM's newest exhibition.
The presentation of this exhibition at the Racine Art Museum was made possible by: Presenting Sponsors - Karen Johnson Boyd and William B. Boyd, RAM Society Members, Jay Price Ruffo, S.C. Johnson & Son, Inc., The Hearst Foundation, Inc., and Windgate Charitable Foundation; Gold Sponsors - Helen Bader Foundation, Inc., Racine Community Foundation, Inc., Racine United Arts Fund, and Wisconsin Arts Board; Silver Sponsors - Cotsen Foundation for Academic Research, Osborne and Scekic Family Foundation, Real Racine, and W.T. Walker Group, Inc.; Bronze Sponsors - Clifton Gunderson LLP, CNH America LLC, E.C. Styberg Foundation, Inc., Friends of Fiber Art International, Knight-Barry Title, Inc., and John Shannon and Jan Serr.