Portland-based oil painter Eric Wert puts a fresh, passive-aggressive spin on the traditional still life. You can find his work at galleries in New York and Cincinnati—or on Ello, the social network that has become a thriving platform for artists to share their work in all its stages. (Wert, 38, laid out his technique here.)
We love the dramatic details in his paintings of knocked flower vases and sparkling oysters. Together, they make for a dark yet beautiful take on Valentine’s Day.
His take on the still life tradition: “I think still life has served as a quietly subversive antidote to the grandiloquence that often emerges in the arts in periods of excess. In my paintings I strive to provide an active rather than passive viewing experience. They are passive-aggressive, intended to be both sweet and destructive.”
A work of pop culture that has inspired him lately: “I rediscovered the album “Bat Chain Puller” by Captain Beefheart. Heard it years ago and didn’t get into it, but now can’t stop listening every day. It’s joyous, weird, sad and angry all at the same time. I could only hope to make artwork that is so multi-layered.