For an artist reinterpreting the still life paintings of the Dutch Golden Age, in a new medium, Kevin Best could not have been born in a more appropriately named country. New Zealand was named in 1645 after the Dutch province of Zeeland.
Kevin takes us back to that golden era, he has amassed an extensive collection of items which featured in the original paintings, giant glass Roemer’s, delicate “Kraak” porcelain, German Westerwald jugs, agate and silver knives and 300 year old bronze candlesticks that have miraculously survived many attempts to be turned into cannon.
What he can’t find he makes, acquiring skills as a wood tuner, carpenter, set painter and jeweller.
He has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the significance of every item in each work and how they interact with each other to form a narrative that had a deep significance in a time of great wealth and fear. A narrative that resonates to this day.
Each work can take weeks or months to complete; his meticulous technique was learned at The Australian Centre for Photography.
Kevin Best’s practice has been recognised in Australia, his self portrait after David Bailey was shortlisted for The 2009 Australian National Photographic Portrait Prize which toured nationally.
American Photo named him one of the 12 Flickr Superstars and described his work in their May 2009 Issue as having “the intense realism and luscious light of a Dutch painting”
He was commissioned in 2008 by Graft architects to create enormous high resolution works for the Gingko Bacchus Restaurant in Chengdu China. This was a major feature of the design which was a finalist in the 2009 American Institute of Architects Restaurant Design Awards.