During the 17th century, still life painting surfaced as a distinctive thematic genre. And, for nearly 500 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’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 55 works in all mediums. Featured artists include Lucas Blalock (American, born 1978), Pierre Bonnard (French, 1867–1947), Georges Braque (French, 1882–1963), John Chamberlain (American, 1927–2011), Sarah Charlesworth (American, 1947–2013), Joseph Cornell (American, 1903–1972), Salvador Dalí (Spanish, 1904–1989), Marsden Hartley (American, 1877–1943), Fernand Léger (French, 1881–1955), Jimmy Limit (Canadian, born 1982), Robert Mapplethorpe (American, 1946–1989), Pablo Picasso (Spanish, 1881–1973), Louise Nevelson (American, born Russia [now Ukraine], 1899–1988), Sopheap Pich (Cambodian, born 1971), Stephen Prina (American, born 1954), Tabor Robak (American, born 1986), Robert Therrien (American, born 1947), Tom Sachs (American, born 1966), and Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987), among others.
This exhibition is organized by Godin-Spaulding Curator & Curator for the Collection Holly E. Hughes.
Admission to this exhibition is free during M&T FIRST FRIDAYS @ THE GALLERY on March 4, April 1, and May 6, 2016.