Stephen Allwood - Darkness and Delight – New Still Lifes


Wairarapa artist Stephen Allwood presents a variation of the vanitas theme; a category of symbolic art works especially associated with 16th and 17th Century still life paintings in Flanders and the Netherlands. These paintings reference traditional Christian views of earthly life and its fleeting nature. Common symbols include skulls as a reminder of the certainty of death, rotten fruit referencing decay and smoke, watches or hourglasses alluding to the brevity of life.


Allwood replaces skulls and other vanitas symbols with desserts: ephemeral delights that melt away as we eat them - contained in fragile crystal glass as a metaphor for the fragility of life. Or maybe they are just Still Lifes…


Glasses (2017), Oil on canvas