Theo Terry

Artificial Shrimp and Other Simulacra

Since antiquity, the still life has been a space in which social relations and value systems are performed by objects, both every day and extraordinary. Artificial Shrimp and Other Simulacra engages the still life to examine the hierarchies of objects which constitute contemporary material reality. Informed by historical still life painting, commercial photography, collage, and the aesthetics of digital processes, Theo Terry’s recent work recontextualizes materials and objects in order to navigate both pictorial concerns and those of wider society: wealth, labour, and consumption.

Through the layering of representational modes and the hyperbolization of framing, apparent oppositions—between image and object, natural and artificial, depth and flatness, authenticity and mass production—play out within each composition. Sculptural components, digitally drawn and cut from stone, plastic, and wood, sometimes provide conventional framing functions but at times obscure photographic elements. Combining a crude, handmade aesthetic with a hyperreality of colour, scale, and tactility, the works in Artificial Shrimp and Other Simulacra suggest a latent potential in the objects which constitute our world.

Still Life with Melon
2020
28.5 x 23 in
Archival pigment print mounted on aluminum composite panel
with UV laminate, painted maple frame
1/3 +AP
$1800

Theo Terry’s work centres around the photographic re-contextualization of objects, and the exploration of conventions of representation both in a contemporary and art historical context and in more vernacular settings.
One of the recurring motifs in his work is simulation foods and plants and the juxtaposition of  ‘real and fake’ objects.  His interest is not in a straightforward binary relationship of these object, but rather creating compositions with multiple opposing relationships: image – object, natural – artificial, depth – flatness and how they can exist simultaneously.

Elad Lassry
Nailpolish
2009

My practice is informed by still life painting, commercial and advertising photography, collage, and the aesthetics of digital processes.  Marble has become a reoccurring motif in my work.  Possibly no other material has such connotations of luxury and legitimacy, which is why – along with its obvious relation to historical works of art – I find it so interesting to include it in compositions where it coexists with the most vernacular and profane materials and subjects.

Still Life with Basket and Fruit
Juan van der Hamen, 1629

Juan Sanchez Cotan – Still Life with Game, Vegetables and Fruit 1602

Apples, Pears and Orchid
2020
27.5 x 29.5 in
Archival pigment print mounted on aluminum
composite panel with UV laminate, painted maple frame
1/3 + AP
$1800

Juan Sanchez Cotan - Still Life with Game, Vegetables and Fruit 1602

Bouquet
2020
20.5 x 25.75 in
Archival pigment print mounted on aluminum
composite panel with UV laminate, painted maple frame
1/3 +AP
$1800

Oranges, Eggs
2020
29.5 x 26 in
Archival pigment print mounted on aluminum composite panel
with UV laminate, walnut frame
1/3 + AP
$1800

Early on Terry  began to experiment with processes that allowed a more hands-on, material practice while still engaging with photography as a discourse.  He developed a methodology in which he photographed objects in his studio, physically cut up large format negatives, then digitally assembled the fragments into unified compositions. He called these compositions ‘Pictures for Butchers’.
The cutting of the negatives is a crude and imprecise process which allows the final work to reveal the conditions of its production.

 

Picture For Butchers (Apples)
2018
40 x 60 in
Archival pigment print mounted on aluminum composite panel
with UV laminate, painted tulipwood frame
2/3 + AP
$2250

Artichoke with Shrimp
2016
6 x 20 in
Archival pigment print mounted on aluminum composite panel
with UV laminate, painted maple frame
1/3 + AP
$1500

Still Life with Beer Mug
Fernand Leger, 1921-1922

Strawberries and Oysters on Table
2020
21 x 16.75 in
Archival pigment print mounted on aluminum composite
panel with UV laminate, painted maple frame
1/3 + AP
$1500

Lucas Blalock – Strawberries (forever fresh) 2015

Sirloin Club Pack
2020
17.5 x 20.75 in
Archival pigment print mounted on aluminum
composite panel with UV laminate, aluminum,
Bianco Carrera marble, polycarbonate
$2250

Wanting to consider the materiality of all aspects of the final art object, I began to make compositions which combined photographic elements with sculptural interventions.  These sculptural components are often exaggerated frames, which sometimes complement and sometimes intefere with the photographs.  Digitally drawing and CNC cutting materials such as marble, acrylic and wood allows me to shape materials in a way which is sophisticated but also quite crude and deskilled.

Detail

Smelt
2020
13 x 16 in
Archival pigment print mounted on aluminum
composite panel with UV laminate, acrylic, aluminum
1/3 +AP
$2250