With a focus on the inanimate and inert, ‘still life’ is an age-old art genre that’s been popular through different cultures and time periods, and takes centre stage in While We’re Still Here – the latest exhibition opening at aMBUSH Gallery Canberra (Kambri at ANU) on 3 June 2021.
Co-curated by aMBUSH Gallery and Scott Owen, the exhibition name references the tradition of still life and the concept of ‘memento mori’ (Latin for ‘remember you must die’) which is often used by the Stoic philosophers.
“It’s a reminder that we’re temporary beings and it’s showing things as they are, or in states of decay,” said Scott. “I came up with the name during the bushfires because the show is also about finding the good things in life when everything is pretty rough.”
Works from 20 Australian artists are showcased – including oil paintings, collage, photography and digital collage – with roots in the artistic traditions of still life but anchored in the present day either through their subject matter or their medium.
Exploring themes including contemporary feminism, gender roles, interpersonal relationships, religion, history, and modern living, the eclectic paintings in this large-scale group show will hint at untold stories and reveal cultural events and phenomena of our time.
“It’s about reflecting on the manmade world – the ways that we see our society reflected through its products and its ephemera, or the things that come and go,” said Scott.
Whether the artists intend to remind us of the fragility of life and its inevitable conclusion, or to see the beauty and memories imbued in the objects of our everyday life, the still life remains a strong vehicle to articulate the human condition.
Featured artists include: Robby Bennett, Tristan Chant, Tom Ferson, Sam Field, Anna May Henry, Niqolet Lewis, India Mark, James Needham, Scott Owen, Jamie Preisz, Lucy Roleff, Nick Santoro, Seth Searle, Lilli Stromland, Sidney Teodoruk, Neil Tomkins, Bligh Twyford Moore, Cassandra Vollmer, Melanie Waugh and Tym Yee.
While We’re Still Here
aMBUSH Gallery – Kambri Cultural Centre, The Australian National University, Acton, ACT
Exhibition: 3 June – 11 July 2021
For more information, visit: www.ambushgallery.com for details.
Image: Lilli Strömland, Sewing Machine II (2021), Oil on linen, 56×96.5cm – courtesy of aMBUSH Gallery Canberra