Marnie White


These paintings examine the tradition of the vanitas still life and their symbolic connection to our own mortality. They mine the subject matter, rich in symbolism and its references to the transience of life. Historically this type of painting was popular in a religious age when images like these were morally compelling to an audience that believed that life was just a precursor to eternal life. Ironically, as the genre progressed, those paintings became sought after for their technical virtuosity. They became a celebration of material pleasures they warned against.

Here the new is paired with the old to build a contemporary vocabulary in regards to the symbolism of earthly pleasures. The plastic skull is set against the ripe fruit and soft leather that binds the books to exaggerate the disparity between these objects.