‘Vanitas in the Anthropocene’, 2018/19 Sculpture, 50 x 50 x 10 cm
Art is a way to process and synthesise the world. As an artist I gather information and create works in
response offering both opinion and question. Brigid Vidler’s work is largely framed by the notion of the
Anthropocene and how we, as humans, have made an impact on the earth and function as a society.
About the work:
'Vanitas in the Anthropocene' is a contemporary still life. Traditional Vanitas paintings were symbolic
artworks, which both acknowledged the transience of life and material objects, and the inevitability of
death.'Vanitas in the Anthropocene' is composed of the modern equivalents to the symbolic objects
traditionally used in still life paintings. The work is overwhelmingly dominated by objects which are either
disposable or have a planned obsolescence. Unlike Vanitas paintings which have an inherently religious imperative, focused on the salvation of the viewer’s soul, this work asks the viewer to reflect upon the ecological morality of consumption.
I have used two types of timber in this project, White Beech and Huon Pine, both of which are native Australian timbers, which have been logged to the point of endangerment. New protection measures have limited the use of both these timbers, and in the case of Huon Pine, it can only be sourced through salvage. Each object is hand carved, a slow process in direct opposition to the quick paced mass production of their original counterpart. The pieces are dropped unceremoniously on a surface, invoking an image of plastic pollution rather than the harmonious compositions of a traditional still life painting.
Social Media: @bid_vid