" We must develop an ontology capable of maintaining the autonomy or independence of substances from one another such that parts are understood as themselves being substances independent of the wholes with which they belong -ie, they are not merely predicates of the whole to which they belong- and the wholes are treated as independent of their parts" (Levi Bryant, The Democracy of Objects, p74)
In my current work I have been exploring the Still Life in tandem with Object Oriented philosophies. Deconstructing groups of objects into various compositions where they are allowed to interact with each other in a different way than in a traditional Still Life. In these paintings, drawings, and collages each object exists separate from the other objects, while working together to create a whole that is equally separate.
The above painting, Objects in Arcadia, presents the objects of a Lute, a ceramic butter dish in the shape of a cow, an olive branch, Peace River in Florida, classical Greek vase, a gingham picnic blanket, blades of grass, and a green color field.
Each one wants to be explored. Perhaps the movement of the picnic blanket draws the eye into some imagined space the tip pointing towards the river the movement interrupted by the shapes of the vase and butter dish, a scale, which holds the loot and olive branch in balance, behind the grass scratched into the thick paint envelopes them.
The objects have their own space and interactions, but also create connections that form the whole, a separate object also wanting to be explored, the mythical and idyllic land of Arcadia as described in Virgil's Eclogues. Arcadia brings a history and artistic imagery of its own (Cezanne, Matisse, Virgil, Poussin,) that while not being depicted in the canvas is made reference to in the grouping of the objects I have depicted.
In this way the objects make their own interactions while also remaining in part inaccessible to the others and to their audience. Allowed to exist as separate objects that also have the ability to unify and to create something different with each interaction.