Jonathan Nossiter, writing for LUSH : Flora e Fauna dalla Quarantena

by Wendy Artin

Wendy Artin, Floating Turnip, 13 x 22 cm, 2020
Wendy Artin, Floating Turnip, 13 x 22 cm, 2020

“What is animate?”, Wendy Artin seems to ask us.

What is solid matter and what is liquid?

If an inanimate sculpture can be turned to vibrant flesh by her magic hand why can’t organic matter, in its turn, acquire the epic, mineral dimension of sculpture?

But the solidity of Artin’s forms, her reimagining, her sculptural rendering of garden vegetables are not fixed in space. The watery traces of her brushstroke keep everything and everyone in motion, fluid, vital, alive.

They entice us into imagining the inner life of a tuber, our own relationship to nature.

And fuel our disbelief that the French dare to call these shimmering odes to natural life, “nature-morte.” And our sadness that the Italians ignored Vasari’s call to consider them “cose naturali,” eventually imitating instead the French lesson in perversity with “natura morta.”

Life is only fleetingly still in Artin’s imagining. But it is still life.

Jonathan Nossiter, vegetable farmer at Fattoria La Lupa, Bolsena… and grower of the turnips in the exhibit, 2020

Wendy Artin, Big Wormy Turnip, 26 x 35 cm, 2020