Vintage glass laboratory beakers and graduated cylinders are used as vases for succulents in this striking tableau. At its center is one of a pair of vintage black busts with a dramatic, muscular expression. Additional textural interest is supplied by a collection of industrial fragments in cast steel. This still life is a study in contrasts, with the colorful succulents playing against the cool shine of the glasses, the bust’s twisting smoothness, and the rusty-roughness of the steel. I love the energetic colors and shapes, but especially the measuring lines on the tall beakers and grooves on the shorter ones …
Here, the succulent colors are cooler greens, with unopened Stapelia gigantea buds bringing an unusual inflated lantern shape to the mix. The other expressive black bust makes a grand appearance, and the steel is arranged to show off its geometric side … this version has a placid, subdued feel.
I purchased these beakers and graduated cylinders at a garage sale. The vendor said he’d used them years before while making whiskey for a well-known distillery. I found them again while rooting around in the garage, looking for something else and experimenting with them as still-life material suddenly became a project. The goal: to avoid a tableau that looked scientific or clinical … the conclusion: mission accomplished!