Born 1960, Dorset, England.
Crispin Akerman breathes life back into the long standing tradition of still life painting with his perfectly executed arrangements that are beautifully depicted and hauntingly real. His compositions are deceptively simple: inspired by painters such as Degas and Morandi, he arranges carefully chosen objects, creating a sense of tension and balance.
Many of the objects he chooses have symbolic meanings: eggs, pomegranates, apples, jars (life, creativity, knowledge, abundance, family history). Others through their shape and form imply a human presence, signifying animation in the inanimate, something living or about to happen. Akerman's use of cloth and drapery adds to this sense of drama, ceremony and ritual. Handmade jugs and bowls, objects associated with ritualistic activites such as washing and drinking, give his paintings a sense of familiarity and elegance. Ritual is a central theme of Akerman's work, suggesting a continuance which is in contrast with the impermanence of the objects portrayed in the paintings. This layering of images and meaning, shifting between the past and the present to get a sense of time standing still, is something that Akerman's work captures skilfully.
Unlike other contemporary still life painters, Akerman does not paint in the vanitas style, nor does he portray busy domestic interiors. Instead his focus is on the beauty and extraordinariness of, and the meaning we invest in, the things we surround ourselves with. His subject may be as minimal as a group of apples or a bowl of eggs, sitting unencumbered by any context, except that of the silent space in which they rest. By capturing a core stillness in his compositions and combining this with virtuosic paint surfaces and a restrained palette, Crispin Akerman's work has a distinctive and contemporary edge.
In his quiet harmonious images, Akerman provides us with a contemplative interval or breathing space from our hectic 21st century lives. Crispin Akerman can be considered one of Australia's finest living still life painters.
2011 Winner - The Town of Bassendean Open Acquisitive Award, WA