Springfield Library and Museums Association

Springfield, MA




Janet Rickus: Still Lifes 1993-2001


Paintings of artfully arranged fruits and vegetables by Great Barrington artist Janet Rickus will be on view from May 23 through August 27, 2001 at the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts in the special exhibition Janet Rickus: Still Lifes 1993-2001.

Rickus's still lifes are painted actual size, at eye level, and are often arranged on a surface covered with crisply ironed or softly draped table linens. Whether she's painting pears or squash, turnips or peppers, she precisely captures the color, shape, texture and shadow of her subjects. She is meticulous and unhurried, selecting just the right specimens, arranging them just so, and painting them with great concentration and precision. (left: Carrots, 1997, oil on board)

Although carefully selected and arranged by the artist, Rickus's fruits and vegetables seem to have developed relationships of their own. They interact in friendly harmony, sometimes leaning against one another, sometimes huddled together in a cluster, sometimes nestled among an assortment of crockery.

Rickus was born in Chicopee and moved to West Springfield when she was in the fourth grade. Her parents owned a grocery store, but she said that had nothing to do with her choice of produce as her favorite subject matter. Although she has also painted portraits and landscapes, she prefers the shapes and stability of fruits and vegetables. She always paints during the day in natural light, and she discovered that when she arranged flowers near a window eventually they would turn toward the light. "Flowers actually move," she said. "I didn't want to deal with that." (left; Mineolas and Sugar Bowl, 1999, oil on board)

Although this is her first museum exhibition, Rickus's work has been featured in many one person and group gallery exhibitions. Her "Three Pears" was the cover illustration of Harvard professor Marjorie Garber's book, Vice Versa: Bisexuality and the Eroticism of Everyday Life, and Garber used slides of Rickus's work at a colloquium at the Centre Pompidou in Paris. Rickus is also represented in a number of private collections, including those of television personality Jane Curtin and the late actor Jason Robards.

A catalogue of her work will accompany the exhibition.

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This page was originally published in Resource Library Magazine. Please see Resource Library's Overview section for more information. rev. 5/28/11

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