Moving Life Painting

We’ve all seen still life painting.  Often involving fruit or oysters that look like this….

Or this…

But unlike real fruit on real tables that you can pick up and squeeze with your hands and taste with your tongue, still life rarely has any life to it.  At least, this was what I thought about still life until I came across artist Scott Gardner.

Using a new technology called ‘Unity 3D’ Gardner has mounted television screens that bring movement to still life.  The screen of his art is highly sensitive to movement and the objects inside it move around according to how the frame moves.  Spectators are encouraged to interact with his art.  Touch it, tilt it, move it around to their heart’s content.  And also to watch with wonder as the life inside the frame moves along with the viewer.

The video on Gardner’s website shows how the pieces in his art move around.  Admittedly, it’s not completely true to life.  No matter how many times you spin the frame, the vase never breaks and the fruit never explode.  But until everyone gets their Hogwart’s acceptance letter and can be enrolled in a school where the paintings not only have life to them, but opinions as well, I think Gardner’s art is the closest thing we’ve got.

And as technology develops, maybe in time artistic innovators like Gardner will bring ‘life’ to more than just still life.  Ever wondered what the Mona Lisa was so smirky about?  What if you were able to poke one of those cubby cherubs and see it react? I don’t know what classicists or modernists would say, but I think an exhibition of reactive art would be an exhibition the whole family would enjoy.  And might be a popular gateway into earlier traditions of high art.

Sarah Ogar

A culture-addict who has dabbled in film production, screen writing, stand-up comedy, theater production, and much more.

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