American artist Andrew Ondrejcak’s latest film breathes energy into the historic genre of still-life painting, dragging it forward into the age of digital communication. The Minnesota-born creator mixes bowls of fruit and wilting flowers with Japanese soda and those most unavoidable items of modern technology—emojis.
“Historically, still life has been the lowliest subject of painting,” explains the New York-based artist and educator, “but I’m moved by the care and devotion to objects that a painter must make—particularly in the Flemish still lives of the 16 Century, in which each object was carefully curated and representative of something beyond itself. I’m also interested in visual pairings of objects; how the spots of a duck egg relate to a decomposing pear, to the craters of the moon, and of how this simple juxtaposition helps me to understand each object in a new way.
“This conversation between objects creates an unofficial history of iconography (though admittedly idiosyncratic and playful). The creaminess of that gross Japanese soda matches the creaminess of the rose, the butterfly disappears in front of a decomposing plum – and so on – until we come to our time, our age, where this conversation through objects continues, now as icons of fairies, barfing faces, bows, love through beating hearts.”