Coriolana Simon has exhibited widely in the Washington, DC area since 2010. Her solo exhibits of still life include a 2022 online exhibit through Biafarin / Exhibizone as well as at venues such as Penn Place Gallery, Artists and Makers Gallery, the Art Gallery of Brookside Gardens, and Glenview Mansion, all in suburban Maryland. Recent group shows – 2020, 2021, 2023 – include several with Biafarin online, the Friendship Gallery in Chevy Chase, MD, and the Maryland State House. Among her honors is an honorable mention by the Maryland Photography Alliance in 2022, a special honor from the Wilmington International Exhibition of Photography in 2021, Best in Show and Best in Still Life at Mid-Atlantic Photo Visions of 2020, as well as 2nd place at the Strathmore, MD, multi-media juried exhibit in 2019. In 2020, she was the winner of the international still-life competition sponsored by MPB. Lenswork included three of her images in “Trilogies,” published in 2022, and another image in “Our Magnificent Planet” in 2021. Simon also lectures and gives workshops on still life. Her work is held in private, corporate, and ecclesiastical collections.
For decades, I have admired the still-life paintings by Dutch artists of the 17th century. Not only do they give us a detailed view of Dutch culture, but they were painted in a style as realistic as photographs. Now, in the genre of what’s become known as “history photography,” I create still lives with my camera, using classic approaches to composition and lighting. While never copying a painting, I re-interpret the historic themes, using only objects that would have been appropriate in the 17th-century paintings. From my ever-growing collection, the pewter plates, baskets, Chinese porcelain, oriental carpets, silver vessels, and traditional Roemer wine glasses all seem to spring right out of the Dutch still lifes.
Reconsidering the art of another culture in another era – and making it relevant for us today – is a complex idea to bring to one’s photographs. Nonetheless, I hope that my work not only reinterprets the styles but also the spirit of the 17th-century Dutch – and through them, creates a reflection back onto our own culture.