When teaching still life painting there are only a few very great examples of pure still-life painters. More often is the case that painters make still-lives to serve as “potboilers” and make a little extra cash to subsidize their true artistic passions. There are very few painters who devote their whole life to still-life painting and to the exploration of its specific problems. Hovsep Pushman is a great example of just that. The simple and pure arrangements that he paints may cause you to miss the depth of narrative and profound use paint handling.
He manages to take simple objects and create mysterious narratives through their associations with the backdrop, very similar to Vermeer in “Woman Holding a Balance,”
but also through more of a subliminal color association and texture created in the picture above. Perhaps the best thing is that he manages to do this without hitting you over the head with it. Sometimes paintings are so obvious that they take away the suggestive quality that makes narrative so effective.