📍️The Approach Gallery,
Mike Silva & Subverting the Still Life at the Approach Gallery
The Approach gallery is one of my favourite spaces in London, bc its small, always has interesting shows on, and it’s directly above a pub!
Mike Silva’s pieces are small, subdued, and painterly. In ‘Interiors and Still Lives’, he builds on previous projects to depict friends, shadows, windows, bedrooms, and bric-a-brac you might find in your home like fruit bowls and headphones, all captured on old digital cameras and translated into paintings. This temporal dissonance lends the photographs a melancholic quality.
In one photo, a man named Jimmy fiddles with a digital camera, his big hand dwarfing the small device. The gesture is gentle. Here, Silva’s compositions have this familiar feeling of 00s, casual, low-res photography - the kind of snaps you might take of your house to check your camera is working. I think the repurposing of these photographs initially taken for no particular reason, feels important, like redirecting lost time. The paintings feel tender and nostalgic. The press release talks about the milky quality of the works, which is a really nice way of describing their subdued hues.
In this way, Silva rethinks the category of the still life - one used throughout western art history - to reflect on the lived environment, black ontology, and the digital turn. The series feels very timely, and it’s q relaxing to write about a virtual exhibition which is 2 dimensional. If I had any money I’d buy one, or two.