I’ve been collecting cute and colorful tabletop and kitchen trinkets, like dipped wooden spoons, little patterned bowls, graphic tea towels, flowerpots, and such, because this summer I’d like to attempt to take more original photographs for the blog. I’ve recently attempted to style a few shots (like the ones for the Raddish Kids post), and I think they’ve come out decently. And, of course, I’ve been practicing my still life tablescape and flower photos on Instagram almost daily. The last think I need is more stuff to store, but I figured the items would be good inspiration.
That reminded me of these artworks of bowls that I’ve been saving for a while, and figured today is as good a time as any to post them.
Although I don’t really recognize Valentine’s Day (just seems silly to me), I am going to take advantage of the “holiday” to post artwork and recipes for sweets, heart-shaped home furnishings, and pink rooms. To start the week, let’s look at the artwork of New Zealand-born artist and graphic designer Joël Penkman, who now lives and works in the U.K. They evoke the work American painter Wayne Thiebaud, don’t you think?
Joel Penkman paints simple still-life studies. He sets them on a clean backgrounds in order to facilitate a connection between the individual and the subject, since food, like music and fragrance, “triggers memories and emotion.” Penkman works in egg tempera, which he concocts himself.
Here are ten paintings of his that I think are the sweetest.
Photographs, including the first image below, by Boston-born Daniel Gordon, is part of the exhibit “Reality Check” at MassArtin Boston, along with Matthew Brandt, the photographer I spotlighted last Monday. Curated by MassArt’s Lisa Tung, the exhibition, which runs through December 6 in MassArt’s Bakalar & Paine Galleries, features photographs that appear to be digitally altered, but are actually the result of other processes. These works are so colorful they look like acrylic paintings, though they are collage-y type photos. Gordon has a variety of work, and I suspect there will be plenty more to come, as he is young, having graduated from Yale University School of Art in 2005.
His book, Still Lifes, Portraits and Parts ($75) is a limited edition of 1000 and published by Morel Books. There’s a signing this Wednesday, Sept. 25 6-8pm at Dashwood Books, 33 Bond Street, NYC.
I usually put long clippings of stiff beach grass that I cut from our yard, in this vase. It’s up on our green concrete mantle. The cat is constantly trying to gnaw on it. He wasn’t quite as interested in the lily, also plucked from the garden. I leaned this stuck, which is actually over five-feet-tall, found on the beach, in front, to make it harder for him to get to. Indeed, since the mantle is slippery and narrow, he fell off. Poor kitty. Nice photo though.
Canadian-born, Chicago-based photographer Laura Letinksy is a master at understated still life photos that celebrate the remnants of meals at a table. At first glance, the pastel colors and sometimes almost abstract forms at inviting. On closer inspection, you see that the subjects have been picked at, pulled apart, and generally abandoned, awaiting cleanup at a later time. Nevertheless, Letinsky’s photos are beautiful.
It’s no surprise that Laura Letinsky has long been intrigued with Dutch-Flemish and Italian still life paintings. In 1997, she started a series of 4″ x 5″ photographs that were experimental elaborations of details from an earlier series about couples. She noticed that they depicted scenes of meals she had prepared and consumed–after the fact. She describes them as “unexpectedly beautiful tableaux of dirty dishes and messy counter-tops,” noting that the formal arrangements were “almost classical in an art-historical way.” Indeed, there were also “assemblages of completely banal personal details of appetites, habits, and implements.”
Over the years she has continued the project, photographing tables in New Haven, Rome, Berlin, and Chicago. Rather than romanticizing the gorgeousness of uneaten food, she is “curious about those domestic objects and spaces that are touched, devoured, and discarded.”
Letinsky, who received her M.F.A from Yale in 1991 is a professor at the University of Chicago. She is represented in NYC by the Yancey Richardson Gallery, and other fine galleries around the world. Here is a sampling of her work, starting with a piece from 2009, going back to a 1998 work.