Broken, Dirty, and Torn Up

9 Dec 2012

I respect Steve Wilda's approach to still life painting because he depicts objects that most people would pass by. Torn lace tablecloths, broken mugs, rusted out pots—the items that Wilda depicts aren't refined, yet the still life paintings he creates have a rough-and-tumble beauty about them that is memorable and appealing.

Coffee Break by Steve Wilda, acrylic painting.
Coffee Break by Steve Wilda, acrylic painting.

Looking at Wilda's work makes me reassess all the objects for still life painting exercises that I may have discarded in the past. I guess I have always thought that only "certain" objects are right for still life artwork—objects that are clean and intact. But I haven't been giving the patina of time its due. Objects that show their use and those that have been broken or altered in some way can be just as interesting as ones in pristine condition.

Lemon Drops by Steve Wilda, acrylic painting.
Lemon Drops by Steve Wilda,
acrylic painting.
In fact, I think that objects that show you a little bit about the life they've led have more character than ones that are brand new. I've also found that I have a stronger connection to the objects Wilda depicts because my senses are more engaged in looking at them. When I see a broken coffee mug, my mind settles on imagining how that broken edge feels, or what the texture is of the rust on the pitted bucket in the painting Lemon Drops. Instead of being a liability in his still life art, these aspects of his still life objects put Wilda's paintings a bit above the rest in my mind. 

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SuzetteG wrote
on 12 Dec 2012 3:04 PM

Is Steve Wilda going to be doing the art for "Pride, Prejudice and Zombies" any time soon? :)) What I see is a decomposed hand holding the other part of the tea cup. He is very talented............made my imagination go wild!

I do have some of my own symbolism........I like purples, for some reason I always feel better when there is a purple in my paintings. I also like Sugilite and like to paint with it and I have jewelry made from the stone........I feel calm.

Triche wrote
on 18 Dec 2012 3:05 PM

This is a first for me: I had zero (zip, nada) interest in still life until I saw these, and having seen them, I now understand why—I found the almost standardized subject matter and lack of texture boring. Wilda eschews both; in doing so, he brings imbues his pieces with the sense that the objects have lived a life and in doing so have a story to tell through the texture and patina acquired in their years of service.