09 December 2015

Objects of Desire: Leslie Lewis Sigler

Think, for a moment, about the what the term 'still life' means.   It sounds like an oxymoron; life is anything but still.  Plato quoted the early philosopher Heraclitus to that effect, as saying variously, "All is flux, nothing stays still" and "You cannot stand in the same river twice."  The painting of ordinary objects has many ancestors: in ancient Egyptian tomb paintings; in religious allegories from the Italian Renaissance; to encyclopedias of botanical discoveries. We can easily think of at least three kinds of still life paintings, pictures of plenitude, pictures of objects arranged to tell a story, and pictures of individual objects that seem to make the viewer want to interpret them as we do portraits of human subjects.

Fresh from Lubin Baugin's straightforward verisimilitude, we turn to objects that tell stories mirrored in the work of Leslie Lewis Sigler who describes her paintings as “objects that vary in shape, size, function, detail and condition, not unlike a human family…or relatives. En mass they are a family portrait.”   Typically, antique pieces of silver are brought out for special occasions like weddings, funerals, etcHer silver pieces are like characters in a play, even without the suggestive titles,  titles,  The Peaceful One, The Go-Getter, and Bombshell. I think Sigler is goading us to imagine that we can look through the reflections in silver to  the life stories of the people who have desired them.

Leslie Lewis Sigler is a contemporary American painter living in California.

1. Leslie Lewis Sigler - The Peaceful One, 2011, Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara.
2. Leslie Lewis Sigler - The Go-Getter, 2015, Sullivan Goss Gallery, Santa Barbara.

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