Humans have had a long history of portraying this cycle of death and rebirth in art. Its influence can be found particularly in a 16th- and 17th-century style called vanitas. Local artists John Fleischer and Jennifer Nevitt explore this genre of art in their upcoming exhibition, "Vapor." [jump]
With vanitas, artists would traditionally arrange objects such as flowers, clocks, candles, and skulls in a still-life arrangement to be painted on canvas. The purpose was to portray a sense of transience, or the idea that everything that exists is in a constant state of departing and arriving, death and rebirth.
Fleischer and Nevitt also use ephemeral materials in their show, including rotting fruits, teas, charred wood, clay, cardboard, and fur. However, they have much more to work with than canvas, unlike the painters of the 17th century. Each artist uses a variety of media, including drawing, painting, sculpture, sound, and video to further examine what it means to be impermanent.
'Vapor' opens at the Gallery @ Fox Tax on Friday, September 9 with an artists' reception from 7 to 10 p.m. The exhibition will be on display through October 1, 2011. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m.