Still lifes, even in the hands of their greatest innovators, assume one axiomatic convention: the frontal vantage point. The strategic reasons for this are obvious: viewing objects frontally allows them to overlap and create patterns of greater complexity. An aerial vantage point, on the other hand, makes objects appear isolated and static. In the set of visual variation in this series, I overcome the liability of aerial perspective by arranging traditional still life subjects (apples, bananas) on a busy ground (in this case, a field of 10,000 cigarette butts) that creates a striking contrast.

The series is developed with the utmost rigor. All twelve canvases repeat the same size (30" x 30") and the same basic format. Only the first and last images are designated as still lifes. The rest progress through arrangements by number (five apples, three bananas), geometric patterns (intersecting lines, tangled triangles), and the realm of the anthropomorphic ("Segregated Apples," "Fruit War"). The final canvas reverses the initial setup: "Still Life With Cigarette Packs and Fruit Salad."

The visual contrasts are complimented by thematic contrasts as well (order versus chaos, the healthy versus the unhealthy, areas of repose versus areas of agitation). Taken together, this series represents a real breakthrough in a genre that all too often lapses into the merely predictable.

Geoff Bent Still Lifes With 10,000 Cigarette Butts oil on canvas
#1 Still Life With Apples & 10,000 Cigarette Butts
oil on canvas
30" x 30"
Still Lifes With 10,000 Cigarette Butts