Vanitas

13 August – 20 September 1992

 

Opening on August 13 at the Annex is Vanitas, an exhibition which explores aspects of the still life in the work of contemporary New Zealand painters.

Vanitas is a Latin word which literally translates as "emptiness". It is used in connection with the traditional genre of still life painting to indicate the emptiness of earthly possessions in the light of the here-after.

Still life painting emerged as an independent artistic genre in the 16th century. A still life painting is one which closely described familiar objects. The subjects are often drawn from the domestic environment (crockery, flowers, books, musical instruments, food, etc) and can also include objects such as skulls, bones, or dead game.

Objects in still life painting often contain a hidden allegory. In a general, secular sense, they can symbolise the transience of existence: with the introduction of Eucharistic elements such as wine, a jug of water, and a loaf of bread, a more specifically Christian meaning may be evoked.

Vanitas brings together a vibrant selection of contemporary works which represent various approaches to the still life. The work of younger Canterbury artists will be included with that of more senior artists in the exhibition.

('Vanitas', Bulletin, No.80, July/August 1992, p.5)

This exhibition was held at the McDougall Art Annex in the Arts Centre.