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Size: 16 W x 12 H x 0.1 in
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Painting: Oil on Canvas, Cardboard.
Oil on canvas board.
“The excellence of a painting lies in its being alike, yet unlike. Too much likeness flatters the vulgar taste; too much unlikeness deceives the world.” Qi Baishi
This is an ongoing series of still lifes in which I pursue the use of a limited, earthy palette. These static and subdued paintings are meditations on the harmonious unity of contemporary conflicting individualities. My work on still lifes begins by browsing antique shops and thrift stores. Out of the vast array of objects, I look for strong, clear, statement-like shapes. I like pre-owned objects. They passed somebody’s taste. They have traces of previous lives. And then, sitting with other objects in my compositions, those objects only play roles of unity with each other. Like strangers in a public space they behave civilly, while carrying their personalities deeply hidden inside. In my still lifes, rather than recreating some situations like in a kitchen or a dining table, the objects are individuals that oppose each other on a theatrical or cinematic stage. When being grouped against each other in a superficially agreeable company, they carry subtle inner conflicts. In my painting technique I strive for balance, where impasto strokes of paint just suggest the shapes’ properties while still being visible as strokes. This gives a sense of transparency of the process.
Why still life? Still life liberates me from narrativity. It enables me to let go of my urge to generate an opinion about the world. When I arrange objects for my still lifes I just let them be in a relationship with each other and the space around them. Then I become an observer, a spectator of the drama. It fascinates me how inanimate objects communicate so much motion in their stillness. The depiction of a moving object conveys only one direction, while that of a static object embodies the potential to move in any direction. A spectator unwittingly and subconsciously becomes a director, a decision maker for what might happen next, and what might have happened before. This effect of static potentiality is widely used in classical Russian icons, which have roots in European pre-Renaissance art, where spiritual energy is the central idea.
Artist featured by Saatchi Art in a collection