Mark Liam Smith

In my series entitled In Bloom, I recontextualize art historical still life tropes of late 17th- and early 18th-century Flemish floral painting within a personal and contemporary aesthetic paradigm in an effort to reinvigorate interest in the role of beauty and fragility in the mundane.

In the late 17th century, when naturalism and scientific enlightenment was emergent, exploration of natural phenomena drew increasing interest among those at the cultural vanguard. Flemish painters at the time deployed still life elements such as flowers, insects, and skulls not only to portray the literal beauty of the natural world, but also to symbolize to the transience of the human condition.

My hope is that an increased interest and appreciation in these art subjects that modernity has deemed superficial may lead to sustained investigations into the metaphorical substrates underpinning the most important epistemic questions that art asks about itself and culture.