I’ve written the requisite statement to go with the exhibit, but I won’t share it here. Instead I will offer other thoughts that occurred to me as I considered what to say.
As a Quaker who worships in silence, I find special meaning in the art term “still life.” The phrase from Psalm 46: “Be still and know that I am God” is at the heart of it. Painting a still life requires one to still one’s own life and, in so doing, “know God.” The painting invites the same of the viewer. Be still!
In that still state, the Art Spirit, to use Robert Henri's term, inhabits the canvas.
A still life has been defined as a painting of an inanimate object or objects. I include landscapes in the definition because they can be frozen and made still by photography. To me, the above seascape is a still life, a depiction of stillness as seen from an Oregon beach.
What is this “stillness”?
It is more than quiet, more than meditation. The stillness is not simply within you but at large and accessible when you turn to it.
It is the stillness depicted in a still-life painting.
Stillness conveys a purity of Truth, with a capital “T.” Words cannot describe it. An image, however, offers an opening by stilling life as experienced by artist and observer.
A still life is painting ... and being.