In his Portland, Oregon, studio, Eric Wert (American, b. 1976) creates still lifes that are the hyperrealistic stuff of dreams. In a veritable flood of sensual detail, he pulls the genre out of the Dutch Golden Age. Wert honed his observation skills as a scientific illustrator at the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago. Before long he broke away to create oil paintings of flowers, fruits, and vegetables that defy traditional constraints. He uses stunning jewel tones to depict decadent subject matter, with natural and manmade objects arranged as a tumultuous comment on the wonders of life and death. Bees, butterflies, snakes, and other critters find their place in Wert’s work—a modern master’s complex observation of natural mysteries.