Kristin Sjaarda is an artist based in Toronto, Ontario, where she lives with her husband and three sons. Known for her large scale, lush still-life images of garden flowers and fauna found in her local, urban environment, her photo-based work has been exhibited internationally. Kristin also has designed silk scarves based on the photographs. She has taught workshops on her style of natural light still life photography and floral design as well as lectured at Sheridan College. This September she will be an Artist in Residence at Kingsbrae Gardens in New Brunswick, Canada. In October, the Smokestack Gallery of Hamilton, Ontario will host her first solo show.
The layered integration of historical influences with contemporary reinterpretations define some of the most compelling features of Kristin Sjaarda’s work. While her botanical subject matter and high-contrast, vivid photographic images present her adaptation of the visual language of those paintings of her Dutch (Golden Age) ancestral heritage, it is her contemporary reimagining of the philosophical underpinnings of vanitas still life that offer the most formidable intrigue. In Sjaarda’s recent works, vanitas is no longer a symbolic reminder of the inherent transience of solely human mortality, but rather looks farther outward instead – an admonition to respect and preserve the ecosystem and environment at large that supports human existence itself.