Erica Iannitti

Junior Editor at Unrated

Take a Closer Look at Artist Rye Purvis’ Corner Store Still Lifes

Born and raised in New Mexico, Rye Purvis relocated to San Francisco in 2007 to attend the San Francisco Art Institute, where she graduated with a BFA in Painting in 2011. An incredibly talented still life painter, Purvis manages to assemble our mundane commercial vices (the corner bodega’s usual suspects: Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Lays, Pop Rocks and Haribo gummies alongside your typical gamut of beverages: Colt 45, Olde English 800, Modelo and Four Loko. Oftentimes, whether plastered up on a poster in the background or painted onto a vase, somewhere in the frame women in various stages of undress smile suggestively, competing for attention.

Her work is the commingling of her New Mexico roots with her Bay Area existence: a vibrant playground of old school cars, candy, booze and trashy magazines. Paint markers, spray paint cans, and bloodied knives appear here and there, mingling like any other quotidian object. In one particularly arresting still life, the labels of Purvis’ array of objects have all been altered, politicized. A can of spray paint’s label now reads “Frisco 5” (in reference to the activist group who camped outside of the Mission Police station on a hunger strike against police brutality last year), a $20 bill has the president’s portrait X’d out, and a beer bottle reads “RIP homies.” In the corner, a bundle of sage rests beside an American flag lighter, and suddenly what appeared, at first glance, to be an innocent arrangement turns out to be a powerful statement of protest.

Erica Iannitti

Junior Editor at Unrated