Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate at Studio_Leigh

Artists: Knut Ivar Aaser, Helene Appel, Nicholas Cheveldave, Rhys Coren, Alex Frost, Daniel Gordon, Emma Hart, Alex Olson, Laurence Owen, Tyra Tingleff

Exhibition title: Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate

Curated by: Tayah Leigh Barrs (Studio_Leigh), organised with Laurence Owen

Venue: Studio_Leigh, London, UK

Date: September 15 – October 14, 2017

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate gathers the work of ten artists around the subject of consumption. Set here, above commercial restaurant kitchens, the exhibition riffs on the parallel between art and food as creations to be consumed. The idea developed from a discussion between Tayah Leigh Barrs and artist Laurence Owen around the similarities between looking and tasting, understanding and chewing, and investing and digesting.

The spheres of fine art and fine dining have each evolved to meet the demand for elaborate consumables. Whether designed for the eye or for the tongue, the objects made to participate in these consumption cycles are destined for insatiable palettes that are sickeningly spoiled yet perpetually hungry. At a time in which consumer culture seems to be approaching rupture, Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate contemplates the pleasures and perils of that which we desire to devour.

This selection of paintings and sculptures is brought together with the intention of exploring the fine line between attraction and repulsion. Intimations of nausea and gluttony come into play as the exhibition nudges at how human nature so readily tips satisfaction over into indulgence. Textures seem to ooze, while images tempt, and symbols decompose. Imagery is gorged and overflowing here, then sickeningly sweet there. When brought together, the contrasting array of works on show prods at the question, ‘When does pleasure-seeking become over-consumption? How much is too much?’.

The weight of food as a subject through art history inevitably echoes behind the show’s central concept. From Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s fruit faces to Salvador Dali’s lobster telephone and Méret Oppenheim’s furry teacup and spoon – to name but a few – the subject of edibility and the surrealism of representing it ceaselessly fascinates artists and their audiences. Subsequently each artwork brings its own set of historical references and material tensions into the room.

The exhibition takes its title from the 1702 Emily Dickenson poem “Fame is a Fickle Food”, which conveys the caprice of artistic success within the language of feast and famine:

Fame is a fickle food
Upon a shifting plate
Whose table once a
Guest but not
The second time is set
Whose crumbs the crows inspect
And with ironic caw
Flap past it to the
Farmer’s corn
Men eat of it and die

Helene Appel, Distribution of Wheat (1), 2013, Oil and acrylic on linen, 64 cm (h) x 99 cm (w)

Laurence Owen, Refuse Recycler, 2017, Oil on canvas, ceramic pins, 224 cm (h) x 139 cm (w)

Alex Frost, Adult (English Breakfast Tea), 2007; Adult (Slimatee), 2007, installation view, Studio_Leigh, London

Tyra Tingleff, Crimson, 2014, Oil paint on raw linen, 200 cm (h) x 300 cm (w)

Daniel Gordon, Still Life with Pears, 2016, Pigment Print, 126.5 cm (h) x 101 cm (w)

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Knut Ivar Aaser, Untitled, 2017, Wood, mix vegetables and textile, 30 cm (w) x 30 cm (d) x 120 cm (h)

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Fickle Food Upon A Shifting Plate, 2017, exhibition view, Studio_Leigh, London

Knut Ivar Aaser, Untitled, 2017, Wood, mix vegetables and textile, 30 cm (w) x 30 cm (d) x 120 cm (h)

Knut Ivar Aaser, Untitled, 2017, Wood, mix vegetables and textile, 30 cm (w) x 30 cm (d) x 120 cm (h)

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