Jonette Murray's impressive still lifes are the subject of ''Composed'' at The Artist's Room. The artist has created a series of tableaux in which the individual elements have been composed so as to play off each other, in terms of position and colour. The works are beautifully created, the soft lighting and gentle reflected surfaces reminiscent of Flemish art of the 17th century, even though the artist's influences and tastes surprisingly veer towards more modern painting.
The still lifes are generally restricted to a few items - fruit, butterflies, jugs - set against plain backgrounds. This allows for the relationship between the items to become a major point of focus, in terms of their position within the picture frame and the psychological interplay of the items. The relationship between colour and tone is also brought to the fore, especially in works such as These golden moments, with its rich golden pears, brass jug, and deep golden cream backdrop.
Several of the pieces bring to mind classical vanitas images, with antique utensils placed against the ephemeral lives of fruit and insects. This is emphasised in Elevation, where a burnt-out candle rests on a dog-eared book alongside a sickle, all traditional symbols of the too, too short nature of life.
Thank you very kindly to James Dignan for writing this wonderful review for the Otago Daily Times.