Not your grandmother’s still lifes

Toothpicks poke apples. Goldfish crackers fly. Water glasses topple over. Three luscious still-life shows have opened in Colorado and California with presentations that turn the time-honored genre upside-down. The artists bring humor, irony and mysterious narratives to the table.

In The Object Project, 15 painters were asked to incorporate the same five items (a moth, ball of string, bone, mirror and glass of water) into their tableaux to explore different visual interpretations. There’s everything from the spare style of Scott Fraser (above, The Fraser Family) to the intricate compositions of Robert Jackson (at right, Food Fight). The show is on view at the Museum of Outdoor Arts in Englewood through May 23.

Gallery 1261 in Denver presents an accompanying show of works by the same artists but without the object challenges. Beyond the Object Project runs through March 21.

You might not think of Palm Springs, Calif., as much of an art destination, but on a recent visit I discovered that the Palm Springs Art Museum is a secret treasure in the desert. Through May 9 it features a must-see Wayne Thiebaud retrospective complete with his signature images of bakery goods—trays of pies, cakes and donuts that serve up a tasty slice of Americana.

—Bonnie Gangelhoff

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2 thoughts on “Not your grandmother’s still lifes

  1. Maureen

    Check out the April 2009 issue of The Artist’s Magazine to see more of Scott Fraser’s amazing work and to learn about his meticulous process.