Distilled Moments at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art

Distilled Moments: Still Lifes from the Permanent Collection
May 28 – September 18, 2011

This exhibition of 20th-century still life paintings and photographs, beginning with Pierre Bonnard’s Flowers in a Pitcher, produced in the early years of the 20th century and ending with Guillermo Srodek-Hart’s Gauchito Gil Sanctuary in 2006, hints at the range and scope of the genre that has existed since the classical age of Greece.

Within a seemingly benign bowl of flowers or a succulent arrangement of fruit, a still life secretes social and cultural messages. Still Lifes can be a mirror of society or of the soul, a rediscovery of quotidian objects, or an expression of artistic harmony that coalesces light, color, and form into synchronous relationship. Eluding precise definitions, still lifes are simply a group of objects that are arranged into a coherent picture.

Still Lifes have their origin in antiquity. The messages they impart have changed over the centuries, but the genre offers the artist nearly limitless possibilities for expression – political message, spiritual exploration, societal and cultural reflection – with the only limit being the artist’s imagination.