Chelsea Gustafsson / Legacies

This new series of still life paintings are studies of bric-a-brac and accumulations of objects. Inspired by the memento mori and vanitas still-lifes that contemplate our mortality and the transience of earthly pleasures, these paintings draw on their symbolism but extend on the conclusion that some of these concepts are short lived. Here things like the flowers and fruit won’t rot or be devoured by insects and creatures, as they are composed of synthetic materials. Even a beetle is denied the opportunity to devour the food or decompose as it is trapped in a resin tomb. Their destiny is to collect dust and rest in landfill.

“Each painting attempts to justify our endless consumerism by gathering these stories into lighthearted collections of common colours or objects. However, the ongoing notion of mortality and impermanence of power, wealth and goods ultimately leaves us to reflect on our legacy of plastic and waste we leave behind.”

Chelsea grew up in a small rural community, later moving to Melbourne to study painting and sculpture. She has had a varied creative career: working in a sculptor’s studio, the art department in the film and television industry and in graphic design, before having kids which she now juggles whilst creating her work from her studio in Barwon Heads.

Legacies runs October 12 – November 4. To see a full exhibition listing click here.