Still Life


Es | En

Still life
Oil on canvas. 130x200 cms


By Ana Isabel Diez

Paradoxically, the main witnesses of our environmental woes are plastic drums.

On one hand, they become protagonists of the survival of a population when water (a scarce liquid in some regions during certain times of the year; in others, a regular situation) is transported in containers like this, that add color to the endless lines to which those affected are subjected.  Then, as if painting the landscape, they fill the long, wasteful, dry and arid journey to the centers of consumption.  They are the most viable, effective manner to carry water.  Their life depends on them.

On the other hand, there are those drums, containers of death and destruction, where chemicals for illegal gold mining or drug business are transported; the pesticides that pollute water sources, which also threaten nearby communities.  An almost eternal plastic presence, if we take into account its non – degradable nature. 

"The plastic drum as a source of life and death."

In either case, it is nature in crisis, almost dead (a game of words with the expression used in Spanish to refer to STILL LIFE: dead nature).  And this term leads me to construct these works.

Still Life” or bodegones, a genre of painting that achieved great importance in the XVII Century, especially in Spain and the Netherlands.  There, artists could position almost any object, which gave them freedom to create and experiment without being restricted to serious or religious themes.  They also took the opportunity to fill them with symbolism.  For this, they used elements such as skulls (vanitas), a symbol of temporality and mortality; hourglasses, books; musical and scientific instruments; different types of fruits and flowers; colors, etc.

From an ambiguous and disturbing element like plastic containers (drums), the problem of access to water is raised, as well as its care to ensure survival.

In referring to a classic genre of painting with modern elements, this becomes a situation that continues:  the restricted access to water in some cultures and its care.

Moreover, the moralizing message of the ephemeral, mortality and the temporal, are recurrently present in the painting of STILL LIFE, reinforcing this concept:  water as a limited resource and a determinant of life.