Sketch of a Tree in a Jam Jar | Adéle du Plessis | Still life

Sketch of a Tree in a Jam Jar | Adéle du Plessis | Still life

  • Contemporary artist: Adéle du Plessis
  • Title Artwork: Tree in a Jam Jar
  • Year: 2020
  • Technique: Acrylic on Canvas on a granulated background
  • Style: Botanical Painting, Still life Painting
  • Size: 50cm x 40cm 
  • 750,-

"Sketch of a Tree in a Jam Jar" by Adéle du Plessis 

A Sketch of a Tree in a Jam Jar is a contemporary painting by Adéle du Plessis, that is part of her new series Drawn at Home.
In March 2020, contemporary South African artist Adéle du Plessis sketched everyday objects in her home during the Dutch Lockdown. From these sketched Adéle painted a series of still-lifes or botanical pieces. In a Jam Jar, the tree is a sketch of one of the saplings her daughter had been cultivating their home in an old Bon Mama jam jar. Adéle sketched the leaves, and a jam jar, specifically t0, captured how the light reflects off the grooved jam jar, and the shadow of the sapling fall on the table. She then later painted the sketch. She was explicitly focusing on recreating a sketch in a painting. Thus not painting the actual sapling and jam jar.



Why this distinction? Plato argued that art has no value in an ideal society. Art was too far removed from the logical ideal. He explained that the first degree of anything is the idea of something like a chair. Once you conceptualised what that chair looked like it was removed one degree from the ideal chair. Once artisans made the chair, it was further removed from the perfect chair. If an artist painted this chair, the painting made of this chair would be a pale imitation so far removed from the ideal chair, that it was useless even to do such a thing. Adéle takes it one step further and paints what the sketch looks like—combining natural elements, such as cuttings and saplings, with human-made objects in her drawings—then repainting the drawings. It is part critique, part poking fun at the role art takes in our current society. The pandemic has shown us, that movies, art, and many other creative recreations of reality have kept us going.



The painting is painted in pastel blues and greens on top of a heavily texturised background. Adéle often first paints a layer of white paint mixed with her used coffee grinds to create a textured background. She then paints layer on the layer the painting, when the painting is done, Adele uses a sand grinder to grind down the painting to expose the layers of paint and coffee underneath. This idea of exposing the material that makes a painting is part of the Spatialism movement. Lucio Fontana, the creator of the movement, slashed his canvases, to reveal the back of the canvas. Adéle builds on this Spatialism notion of making the viewer aware of the materiality of the painting.

Her technique is grounded in an Impressionist brushstroke, a Spatial awareness of the material used to create the painting and lastly, the subject of the painting is influenced by Plato. She is actively painting to reflect the way a sketch is, Not the actual tree in the jam jar itself.


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