Sydney Licht : This Side Up




This Side Up


February 16th – March 25th, 2017

NEW YORK, NY—January 3rd, 2017—Kathryn Markel Fine Arts is pleased to present This Side Up, Sydney Licht’s fourth solo show with the gallery.  


Sydney Licht updates the conventions of still life by shifting the subject matter to signifiers of contemporary consumer culture. Traditionally, still life paintings have portrayed items from the domestic realm, but the food, vessels, and tools of these arrangements have now taken on a different appearance. Today, our food often arrives at the table packaged up, sealed, and sanitized. The interior spaces that were once the serene foundation of these scenes are now cluttered resting places for detritus waiting to be sorted or discarded.


However, when studied with a painter’s eye, with skewed perception and abstracted forms, even these overlooked corners of everyday life can be elevated to subjects of utmost intrigue. The abandoned boxes, artful packaging, and mundane objects that are remnants of our fast-paced world are arranged as sensitively as the vases and fruits of still lives from long ago. Their shapes, patterns, and colors are heightened through a painterly –rather than representational - approach, and the shifted perspective that we view them through makes us see these ever-present objects as if for the first time. The intimate scale of the painting and close-cropped composition lend a tenderness to that which we might consider undesirable.


When presented with such sophistication, Licht draws attention to what we as a culture value in the twenty-first century, inviting us to question what we prioritize. When we live in a time of such visual abundance, the chance to focus on these humble objects and details is a welcome respite.


Sydney Licht has exhibited widely throughout the United States. Her work has been featured in Elle Décor and the New Yorker, among other respected publications. She has been a visiting artist at the American Academy in Rome twice, and the recipient of the Yaddo Residency. Licht has an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and lives and works in New York City.