It’s not necessarily an exhibition, but Lexington Avenue’s BoBo Gallery is currently housing three artworks you shouldn’t miss. Asheville’s Megan Kirby and photographer Steve Mann collaborated on the small series called Faux Life. Their roughly 2-by-3 foot pieces are still-life scenes captured in the Vanitas modus, a 16th-century Dutch painting style that draws attention to our mortality. They incorporate human bones, flowers and rotting food. While the works draw immensely from this style, a closer look reveals their difference. These are photographs, not paintings. And the items depicted within the golden, ornate frames are also artificial, thus “Faux.”
The idea arose while Kirby and Mann were working on a craft-based book for Lark Books. Kirby, who was formerly an art director for the Asheville publisher, set up and staged the fake flowers and various other crafting materials for photographing for Mann. Naturally, collection of these faux-goods was accrued, and the consumerism discussions ignited.
“These things which never decay are killing our environment,” Kirby told Xpress, “so it’s a contemporary meditation on mortality.”