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.
Juan Sanchez Cotan – Still Life with Game, Vegetables and Fruit 1602
Lucas Blalock – Strawberries (forever fresh) 2015
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.