As far back as the Greeks, the still life has served the artist as a vehicle to create the illusion of space and record objects that have meaning to the artist.  Whether it was the casual arrangement of the Herculaneum period or the carefully arranged symbolic metaphors of the Dutch., the still life has offered us a window into a small and delicate space.  Over time the still life began to lose its importance and serve more as a reason to just paint.  I feel that still life objects can convey a presence they may not ordinarily possess until the painter reveals the importance they hold.

    The most compelling work to me is that painted in the tromp l'oil style.  Objects that appear to define the literal space in its most convincing form help to confirm the original purpose of the Dutch painters.  They treated the humblest objects as sacramentals.  The departure for me is to choose banal or nontraditional subject matter and make it rise above its trite existence and meet, or maybe go beyond the level the Dutch artists had intended.

    Most of the still life objects in my work are arranged on a horizontal shelf and/or are parallel to a vertical wall.  I want to reinterpret the space as well as the objects that are traditional to the still life.  In my work, objects sometimes float in a dark, generous ground while others reflect off the surface to help reinforce their stability.  A high contrast of light helps to add to the mystery of the object and imbues a surreal quality which helps the object to transcend its original purpose.  I try to incorporate some level of formalism in the work as can be seen in the "clipboard" painting where the inter-relationship of rectangles is similar to the work of Joseph Albers.  In the "padlock" painting the reflection of the object helps to create a basic geometric shape which operates on a level just as important as the object itself.  These seem to be the most successful images; how to investigate the possibilities opened by them is where the struggle and the path forward, lies.

    The general response to the work lies within the object's isolation of an unselfish and ambiguous space which has been said to give a contemplative and transcendent effect to the paintings - something I have wanted to attain.  Each painting allows me to investigate answers to the many questions or issues a simple still life can offer.

                                                                                                                             -Michael Lewandowski