We're loving Emily Henderson's blog posts this week about an interior design trend she's predicting called Modern Victorian. It's all about updating classic, traditional styles in a fresh and modern way. A sofa with lines remniscent of the era may be amped up with a bold color or luscious textile, for example, or ornate furniture can be juxtaposed with sleek modern lighting. Henderson has coined the look as she predicts that trends will start to swing away from the minimalist decor that's dominated the scene for the past few years, and will start flirting with maximalism.
Of course, we're imagining what art may hang on these Modern Victorian walls. When we think of the type of art that was featured in Victorian homes, we jump right to still lifes and portraiture. Contemporary artists are playing with the traditions of these timeless subjects in a lot of interesting new ways, so if you're feeling inspired by the Modern Victorian vibe, why not extend the characteristics to your art collection?
We typically don't represent figurative work, so we're going to be focusing on how contemporary artists are working with still life. These six artists are modernizing still life in all different ways.
Stanley Bielen's vases of flowers are built up with thick layers of brushstrokes. This abstracts his subjects either subtly, like "Roses in Tumbler"
or more overtly, like when he plays with a sense of motion in "In Flux"
Lisa Breslow often turns to flowers in her monotypes. The printmaking process abstracts their representation, making them feel fresh rather than overstudied.
"Pink, Red, and Purple"
Sydney Licht updates the conventions of still life by shifting the subject matter to signifiers of contemporary consumer culture and studying them with a painter’s eye, skewing perception and abstracting familiar forms.
"Still Life With Flowers"
"Still Life With Sardines"
Stephanie London creates a mysterious sense of drama by using thrifted objects in carefully considered comppositions. Her emphasis on the effect of light in her still lifes is classic, but the tongue-in-cheek choice of subjects keeps the scenes feeling ultimately new.
Marilla Palmer's latest body of work grounds her mixed media depictions of botanicals by creating floral arrangements in watercolor vases. Inspired by the Japanese art of ikebana, the delicate compositions feature pressed foliage, textiles, organic materials, embroidery, and painting.
"Blue Cactus, Blue Violets"
"The Blue Bowl"
Denise Regan's interiors have a modernist flatness and sense of form. They elevate traditional still life arrangements with bright, punchy colors and nods to abstraction.
"Favorite Blue Flowers"
Find more works by these artists on our Pinterest board inspired by Modern Victorian here!