"Ordinary Objects / Wild Things"
Claes Oldenburg, John Slivon (printer), Multiples, Inc. (publisher), Crown Point Press, "Floating Three-Way Plug (Archive Proof for)," 1976. Color spit bite aquatint, etching and soft ground etching on Arches 88 paper, Image: 1073 x 825 mm (42 1/4 x 32 1/2 in.); Sheet: 1248 x 976 mm (49 1/8 x 38 7/16 in.). Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Crown Point Press Archive, Gift of Kathan Brown, 1991.28.97. © Claes Oldenburg
Artists with interest in technical considerations such as reflection and reproduction have engaged with the still life genre for centuries. In its seventeenth-century heyday, verisimilitude was deemed a critical component of the technical success of any such work, ostensibly providing an accurate record of inanimate objects—often layered with symbolic content. In today’s artistic practice, however, such precision is no longer a categorical requirement. Though artists continue to render common things in their artwork for both symbolic and literal ends, the object’s essence is routinely conveyed in myriad ways. The artworks on view in the exhibition Ordinary Objects / Wild Things demonstrate a diversity of approaches taken by artists working on paper over the past fifty years to representing some of the common objects with which we surround ourselves today, deploying ordinary objects to extraordinary ends.
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