About The Pictures

The light reflected off small dead leaves made beautiful by an accident of chemistry and human consciousness and collected and manipulated by the genius of modern technology is, I believe, a potent force for the exploration of beauty and death.
As explained above, I intend the pictures as a whole to have an underlying aesthetic drawn from Dutch still life in a modernised form. However, each individual picture refers to a work of art from differing periods, styles and media and examines a different aspect of the theme of death and beauty. The pictures and their references are set out in the next section.

The idea of and response to beauty and death has changed considerably over the last 500 years but interest in their relationship
remains deep-seated: I hope my leaves will facilitate a fresh way for the modern viewer to contemplate this changed relationship.
In attempting to relate my pictures to these other works of art and thereby draw out the overall theme, I also hope to provoke a more general consideration of photographic conceptual art’s use of scale, symbolism, technology and abstraction. The derivation of each of my pictures is described in more detail in the next section. In general, I choose the source material for its pertinence to an aspect of the theme of death and beauty. My picture, which itself contains death and beauty in its autumn leaves, is sometimes related to its source through a broad geometric relationship; for example, in The Best Doctor:


The Best Doctor, Alfred Kubin, 1903


my interpretation: The Best Doctor, Matthew Greenburgh, 2015


This 'morphed' version of the two shows their geometric relationship.


In other pictures, the relationship is less simple, as can be seen in this merging of my Sardanapalus with its Delacroix source:

In cases where the source is literary, sometimes it is an apposite metaphor that provides the connection or sometimes it is an aspect of the narrative.

Whilst the connections are referred to in the titles, they are in most cases somewhat obscure. We all know how irritating some curators' labels can be but many works of art seem to make little sense without them - does this diminish the merit of the piece or give it depth? Whilst I hope my pictures can stand alone as images, I also want to see the extent to which it is valid to include the explanations as part of the works of art.

If this is too pedagogic then please do treat the titles and explanations purely as parody and focus on the pictures as Still Life with Leaves 1 to 27.

Copyright Matthew Greenburgh © 2015. All Rights Reserved.