The worlds of art and kitchen décor have officially joined forces to present a unique exhibit in San Francisco. Paulette Tavormina’s exhibit, Photographs, is currently on display at March (a hearth shop in the city’s ritzy Pacific Heights) and will be available until June 1st. The must-see still life comes with a contemporary twist — while 17th-century Golden Age artists used paint to convey still life, Tavormina introduces modern, digital photography.
Tavormina searches for beauty far and wide to discover the most interesting pieces at New York City farmers markets and floral districts. Then she brings the flowers, shells, fruit, and vegetables home and uses her experience as a prop stylist to expertly stage the shoot — draping a fig branch in a golden urn or piling a mountain of fresh cherries into a china bowl. Next, Tavormina spends an entire weekend photographing the still life, catching the specimens at varying stages of decay. Although the Robert Klein Gallery in Boston represents Tavormina, this is her first large-scale solo exhibit on the West Coast.
Tavormina’s work and aesthetic is perfectly aligned with the exhibit’s host space, March. The upscale kitchen boutique (imagine crisp white walls, high ceilings and unbelievable finds) is unlike any other shop in the city. It’s filled with a carefully curated collection of copper pots, delicate glasses, earthy dishes, woven baskets, and seasonal condiments all handpicked by owner Sam Hamilton and her senior vice president of product development, Sarah Marchick.
It was Marchick who first discovered Tavormina and her stunning images, and when it came to incorporating art into the store, the photography stuck out: “When we re-launched the store [in 2011], we wanted to do revolving exhibitions on food and art, so I started looking for artists in 2010. When it came to photographers, I came across Paulette’s work. And it just kept coming back to me.” In regard to what makes Tavormina’s images so special, Marchick is drawn to the “light, the deep velvety blacks and how bright they become.” She enjoys how Tavormina picks everyday objects and showcases them with a modern spin.
Hamilton views kitchenware as art, so Tavormina’s pieces, which transform food into art, seem to harmoniously align with March. “The things I buy for the store are not stuck in one place in time. I love modernity with strong lines and think of everything here as heirloom-able pieces. Paulette’s work is the same. I just fell in love with it,” she recently explained. The admiration is mutual, as Tavormina believes the shop owner boasts “an extraordinary eye and an aesthetic that is so unusual, so fine. You can tell that she has handpicked everything and when you walk into March, you see all these beautiful creations — it really is a feast for the eyes. Ours is a fine marriage.” But this enchanted nuptial is soon coming to an end, so be sure to pay a visit while it lasts.
Photos Courtesy of Paulette Tavormina and Angie Silvy