For centuries, still life painting has been an important artistic genre. More than a depiction of objects, artists have used this subject to discuss broader themes of mortality, wealth, cultural exchange, and other ideas. In New Mexico in particular, still life has been used as a means to explore this state’s rich and complex multicultural heritage, with artists painting santos, blankets and other objects that highlight Spanish and Native American influences. In more contemporary works, artists have used still life to comment on the commodification of culture, or the significance of everyday life. Through these objects, artists comment on the tactile nature of lived reality, reflecting on how objects can shape our everyday existence.
Drawn from the permanent collection, Still Life offers an exploration of this genre. Encompassing a selection of both historical and contemporary New Mexican art, this grouping highlights the variety of the Museum’s collection itself. From B.J.O. Nordfeldt to Robert Ellis, come check out some compelling works that look at objects through an artistic lens.