Contemporary still-life art

Ilene Meyer

Restoring the still lives of world-famous artists in our memory, images of silver cups, sliced fruits, and vases, which are works of art in themselves, immediately appear before our eyes. Most of these canvases are painted in the style of realism.

Contemporary still-life painters prefer other directions rather. Every artist is looking for his own style, just not to be like everyone else and stand out from a huge number of masters.

Art canvases of any time reflect the life and culture of contemporaries. At the time of the great Dutch masters Peters, Heda, and Kalf, you could see an abundance of expensive dishes and exquisite dishes on the canvases. Minimalism dominates the canvases of contemporary still-life painters.

Still Life with Oysters, a Silver Tazza, and Glassware, 1635, Willem Claesz Heda

At the beginning of the XX century, still life, as a separate genre of fine art, experienced its next heyday. The languages of color were subject to transformation, as well as the principles of constructing the composition of the painting. To some extent, contemporary still-life paintings become a genre of artistic experiment.

Paintings depicting flowers or fruits became a real business cards of many famous artists. Even Pablo Picasso used still life in the style of Cubism, surrealism, and post-Impressionism. Naturally, the same objects in different styles were interpreted in different ways.

Salvador Dali, Rene Magritte, and Giorgio Morandi, famous surrealists, used still lifes when writing the realities of fantastic worlds. In the modern world, the development of the genre has been greatly influenced by advertising. The desire to attract the attention of buyers idealizes the objects on the canvases of contemporary still-life painters.

Currently, artists involved in the promotion and advertising of goods are in great demand. The world knows several bright examples (Andy Warhol and James Rosenquist) when a still life made it possible to ridicule reckless consumer hype.

Porcelain Art

The modern trend is still a still life on ceramics. Cookware and fine art have always been closely linked. But, earlier artists painted kitchen utensils. Today, every master ceramist and contemporary still-life painter wants to replenish his collection with painted panels or decorative plates decorated with still life.

Who are the best still-life painters today?

The 5 contemporary still-life painters below explore the material world through abstract painting, performance, craft, and digital media. Capturing objects ranging from wine cellar sandwiches to artist monographs, they document what it’s like to live, consume and simply create art today.

Holly Coulis

Holly Coulis, Small Cup and Steam, 2019. Courtesy of the artist and Klaus von Nichtssagend Gallery.

Nicole Dyer

Nicole Dryer, My Pantry, 2018. Courtesy of the artist.

Stephanie H. Shih

Stephanie H. Shih, Stone Dumpling House, 2018. Photo by Robert Bredvad. Courtesy of the artist.

Nikki Maloof

Nikki Maloof, After Hours, 2019, NINO MIER GALLERY

Pedro Pedro

Pedro Pedro, Table In Studio With Lotion And Denatured Alcohol, 2020. Courtesy of the artist.


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