Category Archives: Food

Julianna Cox – Snack for Sasquatch

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Julianna Cox, Snack for Sasquatch
Mixed media
On view at The Arbor Lodge, until March 15th 2014

 

“Wild and Woolly: A Sasquatch-Themed Art Show” at The Arbor Lodge, a coffee shop, veers sharply and somewhat disappointingly towards the cute, kitschy, and hipstery. Yes, it’s fun to glance around at the array of Sasquatches, most of which seem to be related to Chewbacca, doing things like riding a unicycle, drinking tea, and simply strolling through the forest. But I found myself wanting wilder and woollier Sasquatches. One of my favorite works, refreshing in both its representation and materials is Julliana Cox’s Snack for Sasquatch. Made out of pipe cleaners it depicts Sasquatch tromping through the forest clutching his prey – what looks to be a giant root vegetable (this just in … Sasquatch is a vegetarian). The pipe cleaners strike a humble, post minimalist chord and there’s a subtle sort of humor in making your Sasquatch small enough to fit on a little shelf.

 

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Sue Coe – Feedlot

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Sue Coe, Feedlot, 1991
Lithograph
On view at Portland Art Museum (Jan. 11 – May 4, 2014)

Looking at Sue Coe’s Feedlot you get some sense of the scale and sweep of conventional meat production and its energy intensiveness. In the foreground the cattle are individuated and you can see eyes and faces, while towards the background the animals become abstracted elements in a swirling, sweeping pattern. Some of the curves and formations resemble pistons, wheels, and other machine elements. Perhaps most intriguing is the lone human figure, standing with his back to the spectator in the foreground of the print. This print is not as shocking or brutal as it easily could be, perhaps to get us to look a bit longer and contemplate this sweeping tableau and where we fit in it.

Camille Pissarro – Marché aux legumes , à Pontoise

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Camille Pissarro – Marché aux legumes , à Pontoise (1891)
Etching
On view at Portland Art Museum (Jan. 11 – May 4, 2014)

This Pissarro etching, Marché aux legumes, à Pontoise reminds me that the present may not be so special or unique. In this nineteenth-century market scene much seems similar to, say, the PSU farmer’s market. The print, a closely framed cut out of what is presumably a much larger tableau, contains a sense of energy and motion – a sort of about-to-happenness. Yes, people buy vegetables, but they also talk and simply walk, enjoying seeing and being seen. OK, maybe there’s no organic , artisanal pickles – but then again they’re might be: it’s hard to make out the details of the past.

Félix Bracquemond – from the Service Rousseau

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Félix Bracquemond, Dinnerware from the Service Rousseau (1866-75)
Hand-painted earthenware with transfer-printed designs
On view at Portland Art Museum (Jan. 11 – May 4, 2014)

Here is something charming and whimsical from “Feast and Famine: The Pleasures and Politics of Food” at Portland Art Museum (discussions of some more weighty works will be coming up next). This dinner service, created by Félix Bracquemond for Henri Rousseau looks contemporary and fresh. It makes me smile and I’d love to serve dinner on it. A nice extra layer is that this was commissioned by Henri Rousseau, a tax collector turned artist who painted flat and expressionistic jungle scenes inspired not by visits to distant lands but to the zoo. For me it’s also nice reminder that we’ve been looking to the natural world for decoration and filtering it through our cultural predilections for a long, long time. It’s not just in today’s world of Etsy, hipster craftiness, and Portlandia’s “put a bird on it” that we like to have animals join us for dinner.

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