Still life: things devouring time

Woolley, Dawn ORCID logoORCID: and Herrington, Katie (2018) Still life: things devouring time. [Show/Exhibition]


The output is a curated exhibition, co-curated by Dr Dawn Woolley and Dr Katie Herrington. It comprises a series of photographs and objects by Nicole Keeley, Caroline McCarthy, Simon Ward and Dawn Woolley. Research process: The exhibition focuses on the visual representation of vanitas, symbolic objects that warn against excess and the shortness of time. It explores how those ideas inform the practice of contemporary artists, working in diverse media, who respond to consumer culture and the social, environmental and sustainability issues it produces today. The evolution and enduring relevance of the genre of still life is highlighted in this exhibition by the variety of contemporary art displayed alongside Still Life with Drinking Horn by Willem Kalf, an example of Dutch still life painting from the 17th century. Research insights: Things made from non-biodegradable materials and the human inclination to collect possessions contradict the concept of tempus edax rerum, time as devourer of all things. Today, issues of sustainability are at the forefront of discussions about consumer practices, environmental concerns and social inequality. However, we continue to rely on and desire cheap disposable commodities, fossil fuels and plastic packaging. This exhibition presents artworks that contribute to the discussion about consumption and also express sense of urgency for action. The artworks challenge the values championed in consumer culture. Dissemination: The exhibition was shown at The Stanley and Audrey Burton Gallery, University of Leeds, 21st November 2018 – 23rd March 2019.

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