The painting ‘Vanitas (Tulips) V’ by Allyson Vieira reminds us that life is short and fragile

The space in between. At this time – between open and closed, between a new and an old year – there is an unusual silence. While we are used to spending this transition week traditionally, we now also have another dimension: the space between two new realities.

A new exhibition presented online by the Daniel Faria Gallery in Toronto entitled “Between the Acts” shows works that “deal with ideas of silence, calm and inwardness in different ways. The earth rests under layers of ice, a sculpture is cared for in the conservation laboratory, the dusty corners of a house reveal a story, light shifts through a window pane. “

In the gallery it says: “We may not know what is coming next, but at this intermediate place – in this silence – we can perhaps pause for a moment and look around.”

Artist Allyson Vieira painted “Vanitas (Tulips) V” during the pandemic when she couldn’t go into her studio. Vieira is a sculptor and often refers to ancient works, for example “The Three Graces”.

In this case, it’s a vanitas, a tradition of still life painting that was popular with Dutch painters in the 17th century. They are a form of Memento Mori, a work of art that reminds us that life is short and fragile. While traditional memorabilia mori often feature more obvious symbols, including skulls and clocks and burned out candles, the vanitas focuses on flowers or other traditional still lifes. Even the words still life create tension in the room. In Vieira’s “Vanitas” there is movement and joy, even when the tulips are fading. There is a balance between darkness and light.

If we spend this time between actions, between years, between before and after, we can take this time in between to think about life, what life means to us, even as we switch between one state and another.

Check out the entire online exhibition and learn more about Viera’s work at

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