(Not So) Still Life
(Not So) Still Life
Glyndor Gallery | April 5–July 4
Michael Vahrenwald, Untitled (Cup) from Forest Floor (after Otto Marseus van Schrieck), 2014, archival inkjet prints, 30” x 24”. Courtesy of the artist.
The Forest Floor series resets plant growths encountered in industrial and residential areas in New York City as traditional still life compositions. After coming across a painting by 17th century Dutch painter, botanist and entomologist Otto Marseus van Schrieck, Vahrenwald loosely modeled this series after van Schrieck’s works, which illustrated candid yet illuminated observations of found botanical compositions in nature. Capturing the chiaroscuro of the staged scene through theatrical lighting, Vahrenwald brings to light the resilience of even the smallest of metropolitan weeds.
Though modestly commonplace, these microcosmic patches flourish in the cracks of sidewalks, at the edge of buildings, from underneath construction infrastructure and amongst scattered consumer debris. Set in the foreground of their manufactured voids, each still life underscores the wilderness that is modern cities.
Vahrenwald has exhibited at venues such as the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, NY; the Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN; the Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh, PA; and the Yale School of Architecture, New Haven, CT. His work has also been featured in such publications as Blind Spot and Camera Austria, as well as in the new philosophical work by Rei Terada and published by Harvard University Press called Looking Away: Phenomenality and Dissatisfaction, Kant to Adorno. He received a BFA from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art and an MFA from Yale University.
Support for the Visual Arts Program is provided by Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Inc., Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, New York Community Trust Edward and Sally Van Lier Fund, New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation, and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.