Feast for the Eyes: Art Inspired by Food and Dining
Nassau County Museum of Art
Through November 6, 2016
By Franklin Hill Perrell, Artful Circle
Artists since Caravaggio and Rembrandt have needed to paint something that doesn’t move, and that’s also a cheap model. Still life affords artists endless visual interest, and if its food, after the painting session concludes, the artist can eat the subject.
Feast for the Eyes follows Garden Party (2014), featuring the other side of painting from nature. There is food from, farm field, or forest, and from recipes and cooking. Food is a necessity of life, but also fun. Eating can be ceremonial, at a wedding, gourmet in a fine restaurant, or humble as necessary; food at leisure or on the fly. Artists have seized upon each area in different ways.
The exhibition features mostly twentieth century works, and a handful older or more recent. The style is mostly realism, so this is a realist show too. Surprisingly, almost all food paintings depict dessert, so the challenge arose: find artists who portray foods other than pastries and ice cream, which admittedly are the prettiest subjects.
A food show would not be complete without Warhol’s Campbell Soup Can, and soup in a box. Roy Lichtenstein’s spectacular studio scene features cups and saucers. No doubt, coffee was served.
We hope you have a wonderful time viewing this exhibition, that you are surprised and fascinated. The theme is communicated across a panoply of art styles, to create a feast for the eye. Food is a timeless topic in art: from the first cave paintings onward, artists love to portray what they eat!