Still Life painting, or paintings composed of inanimate objects usually seen in an interior space (but not always), represents a rich tradition throughout art history. It would be hard to find a single noteworthy artist from any period who has not left some thoughtful Still Life paintings for us to contemplate. Still Life paintings can be opulent, lush, and crowded, or spare and simple with perhaps a single object carefully described. These deceptively straightforward paintings can be full of allegorical meaning, ripe with metaphor, and weighty with the unseen human presence, or they can be clear, visually “quiet” studies of humble, everyday objects. When the subject matter takes a subordinate role, it is the painting we notice. We consider the pools of light, and the soft cast shadows, we follow the textured marks left in the paint by the artist’s brush, and color takes center stage in our perceptions. The objects of everyday life have personal meaning for us all, and each Still Life will suggest different things to different viewers. These are paintings of mood, memory, and association. For example, Jian Wang looks at abstractly interesting wedges of watermelon, glowing with light, in a way that is unique to him, and in a way that increases our own visual perceptions. Beauty and simplicity are united. Donald Sultan takes a bold, graphic approach: paring the everyday down to the essentials of line, form, and color. Wayne Thiebaud captured the mood of an entire cultural period with his enticingly iced cakes and lusciously colored treats – these are painterly and abstractly gorgeous, and they also describe a culture where pleasure and plenty abound. He created iconic images from the most ubiquitous subjects. In Tom Betts, we see the potential for Still Life to be visually poetic, as he instills a sense of sacred calm with his points of light and gives us a rich field of metaphor to explore: what do the glowing jars of preserved fruit suggest to our minds? Comfort, security, abundance? Everyone will have their own answers. As the collected works eloquently attest, Still Life continues in the 21st century to be a fertile field of artistic exploration.