Still life painting can be tedious to look at. Who cares. A picture of an object. Well rendered. Good palette. Yet Jessica Brilli brings a freshness and vitality to the genre. The objects she chooses bring back memories for me, they bring another life to light, a past, a pre digital age, a slower time when space was private, less connected, scrutinised, naked.
Brilli’s American realist aesthetic taps into our need for nostalgia, it plays on a fantasy, gives us comfort while being wholly contemporary, these objects, these technological relics from the 1950s, 60s and 70s, such as Kodak cameras, transistor radios and manual typewriters are made real again, are put in a new light, as if she’s determined to make us see these obsolete objects on a 21st Century stage.
This nostalgic realism is entirely American, her art rooted in the paintings of Richard Diebenkorn, Edward Hopper, John Sloan, Alice Neel, Holly Farrell and Leah Giberson, all playing in a similar colour range, influenced by the materialism of their country. This desire to reflect the consumerist age, to search through flea markets for the ephemera of the past, for pop culture history is a peculiarly American idea, its subtext as interesting as the image it presents to us. Yet for all of that Brilli only has this to say about her simple, beautiful pictures:
I’ve experimented with various subjects, but I always enjoy evoking the beauty in everyday scenes and objects.