Painting Isn't a Spectator Sport
Still life. The term sets up our expectations: stillness. How much more interesting though to defy those expectations and paint one that not only looks dynamic but was built and composed dynamically, while walking around the table with the reference objects.
I painted this in 2011 as a one-hour activity for our mentorship group at the Burlington Art Centre (the now Art Gallery of Burlington). It would be fun to show you how different everyone's paintings were. I didn't have a very good view of the table, so I got up to sketch in the elements with paint. While doing that I made decisions, moved things around, edited some out, abstracted others. Then I went back to my table to paint, occasionally getting back up to take a closer look, to see what papayas actually look like, or what was essential about a cantaloupe that I wanted to convey. I should also mention that this is painted entirely using a spatula, no brushes or "proper" painting knives.
The result is what I call 'Dynamic Still Life (Fruit)', a staid but referential (Futurists) title for a refreshing experience of active looking and perspective-changing.
What do you do to shake up your own perspective?
Getting accepted into a show or some other art opportunity is always exciting, and there is a lot of hard work behind it. First there is making the work of course, and then there is the stack of applications that need completion, each with different requirements.
The Propeller gallery's Migration project for Nuit Blanche required a statement specifically addressing the theme; how it applied to me personally, how my work reflected or expressed it.
I'm lucky that the piece I was submitting was made in 2012, allowing me the time necessary to reflect and gain perspective on it. The difficulty when I sat down to write was that I had so many ideas wound up in the theme. The challenge was not to wander off into peripheral musings.
As promised in my recent news posting on this site, I'm reproducing what I wrote here for anyone who's interested. The gallery will have a much-abbreviated version mounted next to my piece at the show, but that will lose a lot in terms of storytelling as a result. I hope you enjoy this fuller version. Please let me know in the comments if it raises any thoughts or questions when you read it.
Thanks to Valerie Sing Turner for providing the basis for one of the stories in her play Confessions of the Other Woman.
Back to the Drawing Board
As a visual artist I like nothing more than getting up to my elbows in paint or little plastic toys, or wading in at the deep end in pursuit of an idea. When I am not teaching others in a similar vein, you can find me researching, writing and noodling around in my studio, seeing where my latest lines of inquiry lead me.
All images and content on this website © Kim-Lee Kho 2005–2018 except as indicated. All rights reserved. No reproduction without express, written permission.