Expositions en cours et à venir
5 juin au 30 septembre 2021
“Still life is the art of the small thing, an art of holding on to the bits and pieces of our lives. Some of these things we glimpse in the frame of a painting are ephemeral - food, cut flowers, tobacco - and others, like the clutter in a dead man’s attic, are objects that will survive us. The paintings speak to our wish to live and to our dread of dying, but because the space inside the frame is a figment and the things it holds are imaginary, they have the eerie quality of the impossible: a permanent dream.” Siri Hustvedt “Yonder” Essays 1998
This series of paintings takes as it’s point of departure, the tradition of still life - “nature morte”. Flowers and food are most often employed as elements to invoke the notion of transitory beauty and the fragility of life. Combined into this series are two specifically dedicated paintings as memento mori - Painting for Jennifer and Triptych for Ruth . How may objects represent a kind of portrait? The paintings, “Holly’s Kitchen” nos. 1 & 2, “Maureen’s Kitchen” nos. 1 & 2 and “Susan”s Kitchen” are all portraits of women without referencing their faces but by using a strong colour field as a monochromatic background. The coloured grounds give a temperature and sensation reading of each portrait and the objects are favoured things found in each woman’s kitchen. By using a mirror in the composition and abolishing the classic table top in still life, a new space is created; a psychological space where each woman is portrayed through objects, illusions and botanical life. Glass, metal and porcelain stand in for our man made world. The use of mirrors and reflections creates a doubled world of certainty/doubt. There are deliberately no shadows so that the light is almost supernatural.
The two memento mori paintings executed in memory of Jennifer Giles and Ruth Reeves attempt to recreate moments and passions in the lives of these two women through the objects chosen and distilled in their memory. The use of black is evident, but also a white ground both symbolizing grief and mourning. It is important to note the full flower blooming in the floral elements and to feel both life and death existing together as a classic vanitas .
The genre of still life is often overlooked as insignificant and has been relegated to the basement in the hierarchy of painting. Labelled “domestic” and “feminine” this genre of painting has constantly been practiced by artists precisely because of its’ subversive nature. It is sometimes easier to explore and reinvent in the farther corners away from weighted matters. The artist, in this case, wishes to squarely confront the belittlement of mere “flower painting” with the more elevated portrait genre. To also reimagine 1970’s colour field abstract painting as highly figurative.
Shelley Reeves- Biographical Information
Shelley Reeves lived and painted in Montreal for over 50 years and now resides in Shefford, Quebec. She taught visual arts at Dawson College and painting and drawing at Concordia University for over 30 years. Her work is in the collections of The Canada Council Art Bank, Musee du Quebec, corporate collections of Teleglobe , Lantic Sugar and Via Rail (commissioned). In addition her work has been commissioned by collectors in Switzerland, France and the United Kingdom in addition to private collectors in Quebec, Canada and the United States and Europe. She was the subject of a Bravo documentary “The Artist’s Life” series on Canadian artists in 2003 She holds a Maitrise en arts plastique from University du Quebec a Montreal , a BFA with distinction from Concordia University and Fine Arts Diploma from the Alberta College of Art.