Papaver Somniferum by Emily Gormican

Home / Salons / 16th ARC Salon

Emily Gormican

Papaver Somniferum


40.64 x 50.8 cm | 16 x 20 in

Oil on linen on panel

  • Dual Category Awards
  • ARC Purchase Awards ($10,000)

This work is in the Collection of the Art Renewal Center.

This still life aims to draw the viewer into a world that encourages self-reflection, but compels contemplation of the human condition. Drawing on the Dutch still life tradition, the scene is one of contradiction: at once luscious and vibrant, while also indulgent and decaying.

Critical to the experience of this contemporary vanitas are the ephemeral objects, each delicately chosen for their symbolism, rendering this entire image a kind of self-portrait. This can be felt in the drapery (the artist's wedding dress), the porcelain vase (a family piece) the waning blooms of the opium poppy (significant in the artists’ beloved Wizard of Oz books), their contents pressed into pills and powders that can, and do, induce eternal sleep (a reality the artist, a registered nurse, faces daily). Finally, the paper doll figure, both youthful and forsaken, invites the viewer to place him or herself within the narrative.