Installation views, Taste Test, Anna Leonowens Gallery, NSCAD University, Halifax, NS - April 2019
Does taste matter? Food may be necessary for survival, yet cravings ignore nutritional content or gustatory flavour. Basic aesthetic elements of colour, form, and texture can be manipulated to entice hungry eyes. In our mass consumer culture, notions of normalcy can become skewed as familiar objects evolve into the uncanny and bizarre.
In the search to understand transformation of visual hunger, my studio practice takes cues from chefs and their kitchens. My expanded toolkit includes pastry bags, condiment dispensers, and baking molds, alongside paint brushes. My materials list has skewers and vinyl tablecloths, added to paint and panels. This alteration of tools and ingredients facilitates innovative material experimentation, allowing me to put aside some preconceptions which can accompany formal painting.
By blending and abstracting vocabularies of fine art and food, my resulting installations transform gallery walls into expansive visual tabletop feasts. Understanding that the development of taste is not linear, direct, or objective, I choose to forgo creating stand-alone works. I offer my viewers with assemblages or ‘tableaus’ of paintings, which provide a constellation of forms in dialogue with one another. In this way I am able to deconstruct, transform, and re-imagine seemingly familiar consumer products.
I view my work as a balancing act or test. For instance, how far can an object be pulled into the field of abstraction, while still retaining a degree of representation? At what point does a painting become a sculpture; and vice versa? When is a colour perceived as delicious or conversely, disgusting? Where is the line between ‘tasteful’ and ‘tasteless?’