Still Life Up Close

Exhibition studies impact, value of altering time, place, and imagery

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In a creative mix of art works from the museum's holdings and on loan from private collections, Still Life: Capturing the Moment looks beyond the classical definition of a “still life” to explore why this esteemed genre continues to compel artists today.

Currently on display at Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, The Galen and the Faye Sarkowsky Sculpture Garden, the exhibit runs through Feb. 21, 2016.

Throughout time, visual artists have delighted in the excitement of transforming commonplace objects into symbolic encounters with the world and self. Bringing together paintings, sculptures, photographs, and a surprising variety of other media, this exhibition studies the powerful psychological and associational value of altering time, place, and imagery into an artistic still life.


Michael Childers, Rachel Rosentha, Los Angeles, 1999, 1999, toned gelatin silver print, gift of the Michael Childers (c) Michael Childers.


In the early 20th century, photographers such as Cy DeCosse, Baron Adolf De Meyer, and Paul Strand focused on capturing the sensual elements of light, texture, and form in everyday life. Today, contemporary photographers including Tom Baril, Michael Childers, and John Dugdale reveal the passion to document, describe, and celebrate material pleasures and possessions.

Many still lifes require meticulous renderings and pure technical virtuosity. In seductive paintings by Bruce Cohen, Helen Lundeberg, and Paul Wonner, these masterful skills are employed to transform the commonplace into visual illusions of imaginative and complex beauty.

New media installations by artists such as Jennifer Steinkamp and Catherine Chalmers expand beyond the genre’s conventions to produce alluring contemporary innovations, while artist Ori Gersht creates a mesmerizing film that literally explodes the idea of still life. Taken together, this exhibition offers a refreshing, pleasurable, and often surprising look at the art of still life.

This exhibition is organized by Palm Springs Art Museum and funded by Erik E. and Edith H. Bergstrom Foundation. Additional support provided by Marion Rosenthal and Contemporary Art Council Silver Sponsors Naomi and Jeffrey Caspe and Tom Minder. Media Sponsor: The Desert Sun. Exhibition Season Sponsor: Dorothy Meyerman.

Still Life: Capturing the Moment, Current through Feb. 21, 2016, at Palm Springs Art Museum in Palm Desert, 72-567 Highway 111, 760-346-5600;

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