Laura Letinsky: Still Life Photographs (1997–2012) is an exhibit of works by Chicago-based photographer Laura Letinsky. This exhibition will feature over fifteen of the artist’s large-scale photographs that feature food and the remnants of domestic interactions with food. Using the table as the platform for these “still life” tableaux, Letinsky creates beautiful images that hint at the meals that existed before. Her photography has evolved from studies in melancholy and absence to subtle explorations of perception, color, and space. The soft light and delicate colors invite viewers to approach her work, where they discover unexpected shifts of scale and playful illusions of space. These qualities are most pronounced in her work from 2010–2012, where she abandons traditional concepts of space altogether, and chooses instead to tape, pin, or glue cutout images of food and other objects to large sheets of paper, which she then photographs.
An excerpt from Letinsky’s artist statement: “Still life is unavoidably an engagement with and commentary upon society’s material-mindedness. Laura Letinsky’s photographs of forgotten details such as wrapping paper, plastic containers, Styrofoam cups, cans, leftover food bits, and found trinkets remark upon these remnants of daily subsistence and pleasure. But instead of the traditional allure of a meal awaiting an unseen viewer’s consumption, Letinsky photographs the remains of the table so as to investigate the precarious relationships between ripeness and decay, delicacy and awkwardness, control and haphazardness, waste and plenitude, pleasure and sustenance. What is looked at is “after the fact,” what (ma)lingers, what persists, and by inference, what is gone.”
Laura Letinsky is a professor at the University of Chicago, Department of Visual Arts. She received her Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, Canada in 1986 and her Master of Fine Arts degree from Yale University School of Art in 1991. She has received grants from prestigious institutions, such as Anonymous Was A Woman Foundation, Richard Driehaus Foundation, and John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship. Past exhibitions of her work have been featured at the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography; Casino Luxembourg; Museum of Modern Art, New York; Nederlands Foto Institute; and The Renaissance Society, Chicago. Her work is featured in many collections including Art Institute of Chicago; J.P. Getty Museum, Los Angeles; Hermes Collection, Paris; The Museum of Fine Art, Houston, TX; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. She is represented by Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York.
This exhibit and corresponding programs were made possible by Themester 2014 and the Center for Integrative Photographic Studies at Indiana University. Laura Letinsky: Still Life Photographs (1997–2012) is part of the College of Arts and Sciences’ semester-long initiative, “Themester 2014: Eat, Drink, Think: Food from Art to Science.” Themester is a program that combines academic courses, public lectures and exhibits, film showings and other events and is intended to engage students and the entire community in a collective learning experience about a timely issue.
This traveling exhibition is organized by the Denver Art Museum and circulated by the School of Art Gallery, University of Manitoba, in collaboration with the artist and Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York.