Still Life & Beyond
This page lets you go deeper into the exhibitions by presenting the artworks with thoughtful questions, additional historical and art historical information, and interesting comparisons.
All supplementary material for the “Still Life & Beyond” is on this page. Scroll to find the image and content you’re looking for.
Jeanne Leighton-Lundberg Clarke (1925-2014), Trifloria, 1981, oil on canvas, 54 x 48 1/2 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, 1981.
Look at this bright painting closely and think about these questions:
What is a pattern?
Can you find any patterns in this painting?
How many different patterns can you find in this painting?
Do the patterns make this painting easy or difficult to understand?
Our eyes need places to rest when looking at a work of art and too many competing patterns overwhelm our visual senses making the pictures confusing…but also very interesting!! Rest your eyes on the solid areas of color in this painting, such as the fruit or flowers.
Jeannette Klute (1918-2009), Green Grasses-Blue, c.1955, dye transfer color photograph, 18 7/8 x 15 1/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art, gift of LeGrand P. Belnap, 2002.
History of Color Photography
– The first photographs were in black and white
– Color photography was invented by James Clerk Maxwell in 1855, although it was Thomas Sutton who actually took the first color photograph in 1861 using the method suggested by Maxwell
– In 1906, glass plates with color sensitive gelatin emulsions became available to photographers
– In 1935, Kodachrome was invented at Eastman Kodak
– Jeannette Klute worked extensively on perfecting the dye transfer process, a labor-intensive photographic technique that produced rich colors and permanent prints.
What difference in color do you see between the two versions of the image below?
The Dye-Transfer Process
– A photograph is taken and a negative created
– The negative is separated into its color layers and negatives are made for each layer
– Each layer is put into a dye bath
– The photograph is recreated by printing each color layer individually
– See the process with this video: https://youtu.be/SO_4PGYhnRM
Judith Mehr (b.1951), Crimson Pears, c.1985, oil on linen, 26 1/2 x 34 9/16 inches. Brigham Young University Museum of Art.
Look at the artwork and ponder these questions:
What is a still life?
A still life is a picture of objects that have been arranged for the viewer to see. The earliest known still life painting was created by the Ancient Egyptions and depicted food items like grain, fish, and fowl.
Still life artwork rose to prominence as a relevant subject during the 16th century in Europe when artists became interested in realistic studies of everyday objects.
What things can be included in a still life?
Anything! Things that are special to the artist, groupings of similar things, groupings of dissimilar things, but usually things are chosen because they are interesting in terms of shape, color, or texture.
What is interesting about this still life?
Why did the artist choose pears of various colors? Why did she choose a very shiny brass vessel?
Consider these artwork terms as they relate to still life painting:
Composition – the artistic arrangement of the parts of a picture
Balance – the way objects in a still life off-set each other to make the overall composition feel “secure” and “pleasing.” In other words, we feel more comfortable looking at a still life when the parts of that artwork seem to balance each other.
Depth – the perceptible distance in an artwork. Techniques of perspectives are used to create the illusion of depth in paintings or drawings.