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Art Show: 21st Century Still Life

Prospectus and Entry Instructions

Exhibit Entries accepted from 1/12/2003 to 2/2/2003.

Banner for 21st Century Still Life art show


Is the art of still-life a dead art? Or does this centuries-old approach have a new relevence in the 21st century? What objects speak to our times? Or to you, the artist? Artists should explore the still life's place in contemporary art, looking at the objects we glorify, the compositions we contrive. Is still life painting purely an exploration in technique, or is there another layer of meaning for today's artist?

This is a Juried Show

Juror: Jeff Cohen

Juror's Statement

As our global culture becomes increasingly complex, the simplicity of the still life gains new power. We are bombarded by so many images, at such an incredible rate, that it's at once surprising and perfectly natural that we find relevance and even comfort in paintings of familiar objects. The 21st century still life is a paradox: how can a single image, derived by meticulous application of age old techniques and materials compete for our attention in a world where visual information is measured in megabytes per second? But it is precisely that conflict that endears the still life to us. It's proof that the human mind is capable of infinite variety within the context of culture.

Some of the pieces represented here directly address the context of our culture with images that are unique to our time, some feature objects and themes that have been around for centuries. They are all valid, especially when viewed together (which makes my choices really difficult!) It is interesting to see a painting of some high-tech object and to think about how it will be viewed in a hundred years, but it's also interesting to consider the way the objects that we find beautiful, ugly, or mundane have been viewed for thousands of years - and will probably be for thousands more. That's what is important to me in a 21st century still life: how does it connect us to our past, and to our future. Still life has the power to do this more than any other kind of painting.

Of course, I never think of this kind of stuff when I'm painting! And that's important too: the still life that is a simple observation of the objects around us holds the greatest power to speak of context in time and place. Whatever drove the artist to choose a subject and commit the image to canvas is enough. The art always speaks these age old, universal truths better than words.

I am painter living outside of Atlanta, Georgia. After spending most of my life as a graphic designer and illustrator, I discovered eBay about three years ago and found out that there was a way to fulfill my oldest ambition - to paint for a living. I paint all kinds of things: cats, people, landscapes, and still life. And I paint some weird stuff that defies categorization, too. Most of my work is simply observational. I find beauty in a subject and I try to capture what I feel. But every once in a while a concept pops into my head that demands to be expressed, and I do the best I can to give it life. Though I have had gallery representation in the past, I currently exhibit and sell my work exclusively through the internet. I like the balance between the physical world and the online world. Brick and mortar galleries tend to require an artist to limit his or her style so that it can be more marketable. But on eBay variety is strength. I have found that the more I vary my subjects and style, the more interest it generates. I don't know what will happen with this relatively new, global art venue as it grows and matures, but I intend to be there to find out!

Jeff Cohen
15 January 2003

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