Kimberly Witham’s exhibition “On Beauty,” at Boston’s Gallery Kayafas from March 1 to April 6, 2019, offer lush still-life photos from 2017 and ’18. Her “On Beauty” series is sweet with bright purple and orange flowers, melted ice cream, Pop-Tarts and cookies. Her “Laid Table” series is somber featuring dark browns and other earth tones and dead squirrels, mice, an owl.
“My work is strongly influenced by natural history dioramas, cabinets of curiosity, still-life painting and other manifestations of humankind’s attempt to categorize, comprehend and ultimately control the natural world,” the Lebanon, New Jersey, artist writes. “All of my photographs are informed by my studies in art history and my love of nature. I am an avid gardener, wanderer, and collector of bones, shells, seed pods and other ephemera.”
“My images are a very personal meditation on beauty, fecundity, fragility and the inevitable march of time,” Witham writes. “The visual language of these images is borrowed from classical Dutch still-life painting. In these paintings, flowers, fruit and flesh are represented in varying states of ripeness and decay. These paintings serve as both a celebration of beauty and a reminder of the inevitability of death. They are simultaneously seductive and grotesque. The materials used in my images are all culled from my surroundings. The flowers and vegetables are from my garden. The animals and birds are all roadkill found close to my New Jersey home. The fleeting nature of my subject matter requires me to work only with what is available on any given day.”
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