Contemporary Retellings: Claudia Smalley

Artsy Forager

One of the things I loved about studying art history in college was learning the backstories and narratives behind works that seem, on the surface, simply decorative.  Throughout the history of art, still lifes have been used to convey deeper meaning through the symbolism of the objects they portray. In her Peek series, Chicago artist Claudia Smalley looks past the narrative to distill the still life into its simplest values– color, shape and light.

Smalley successfully interprets what some might consider a mundane subject ( not me, though! ) into exciting, contemporary abstract interpretations full of movement and texture.

She captures the essence of the genre in terms of composition ( what every art student studies still lifes for! ) and that glorious chiaroscuro employed by masters of the staged vignettes.  Her canvases move and glow with the same delicate rhythm.

While I was in painting studio in college, I…

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