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September 26 - December 24, 2015
The current obsession with food culture has reached peak levels. We are inundated with images of food in both commercial and social media. We attempt to capture our own culinary landscape through Facebook and Instagram, celebrating our edible exploits at trendy restaurants and gourmet achievements in our own kitchens. Eating can be incidental to our experience of food, as we are consumed by a preoccupation with aesthetics and status.
Food for Thought brings together eight artists who have brought political and personal issues of food to the forefront of their artistic practice. These artists look deeper than an Instagrammed snapshot to explore a broad range of subjects including food policy, health and nutrition, sustainability, and family histories, often with an irreverent sense of humour.
– Patrick Macaulay, Director, Visual Arts
Johan Hallberg-Campbell was born in the Highlands of Scotland and has been living and working in Canada since 2007. He is a Graduate of The Glasgow School of Art. As a freelance photographer, he has worked for numerous publications and institutions worldwide, shooting assignments globally. Hallberg-Campbell’s commissioned and personal work has been published and exhibited internationally. He has curated 45 photographic exhibitions in galleries such as VII gallery (New York) and Pikto gallery (Toronto), showcasing the works of local, national and international photographers. He is the photo editor at Raw View magazine. His work explores what it means to belong to a community and have traditions rooted in heritage. He continues to develop his book-length project Coastal, a project photographing the Canadian coastline for which he was awarded a Canada Council for the Arts grant in 2014. He aims to complete Coastal in 2016.
In the realm of material evolution, soil is both linked to and engaged in holistic replenishment cycles. Affected by factors such as climate, topography, water and nutrient cycles, biotic and non-biotic relationships, etc., soil is a complex living system that can be described as representing indigenous qualities. Soil is not only the matrix for complex indigenous biological communities, but it also forms a symbiosis of interlinked and codependent communal activities. As such, it is at once a worthy metaphor and real source for understanding the form, function and development of indigenous systems. This short video explores these concepts in relation to food production and provisioning by documenting the activities and findings of a land-based studies course that I took as part of my doctoral studies at Queen’s University.
– Ruth Lapp
Ruth Lapp has grown food on her small farm in Nova Scotia for nearly 20 years. For Lapp, caring for the soil and the land has been a key component of the creative process of farming. This aspect of creativity, which is really about respect for nature, is foundational to her current work as a doctoral student at Queen’s University. Whether through farming or academic pursuits, Lapp seeks to bring to light the connections between the indigenous wisdom and natural processes of soil and land, and re-indigenized human communities.
Wearable Food is a series of photographs that displays food in atypical and unexpected ways. In this series, food is not merely the ingredients we associate with the cooking and dining experience, but rather, it speaks about its materiality that can be transformed into clothing and accessories. Wearable Food pays respect to shape, form, volume, line, size, colour, and texture, the formal qualities of art that are also found in food. Through the performance of employing food as wearable objects, the artist attempts to express her love for humour and food.
Sooyeong Lee is a multidisciplinary artist based in Toronto. Her work displays her fascination with ordinary human activities including, but not limited to eating, cooking, wearing, sitting, and dancing. Lee’s current project explores suited, middle class men, inspired by her father.
My family taught me that food, at its best, is improved by having people to share it with (and to help with the dishes when it is done). They entrusted me with gathering herbs from the garden, setting the table and lighting the candles, and picking the CD. Later, they gave me instructions and a knife, a sip of wine, the keys to the car and a list of unremembered ingredients. From them I learned that the soul is a stomach that can be satiated with books and music.
This project is a playful examination of the reciprocal relationship between food and language. The image is of a simple wooden bowl; a symbol of sitting down to dinner with loved ones, of sharing stories over home cooked meals. The text is a collection of anecdotes, memories, inventions, and cryptic crossword clues. It is to be savoured, picked at, or devoured whole.
Paige Lindsay is a visual artist and writer who lives in Toronto. She draws on a great love of language and a background in photography to make stories. Sometimes, she picks up garbage (captivating artifacts!) off the sidewalk (handwritten notes are preferred) and incorporates them into narratives. In 2014, Lindsay was awarded the inaugural AIMIA | AGO Photography Prize Scholarship. She received a BFA in photography from Ryerson University’s School of Image Arts in 2015.
In 2011 I started renting a garage to do concrete and plastic casting. One day the superintendent dropped by with a bag of burnt hot dog wieners and said, “I passed out while barbequing these last night. My wife wanted to throw them out, but I figured you could use them for art.”
David Poolman is an artist living in Toronto.
Devin Schaffner (rekindle)
rekindle’s design strategy supports our everyday lives with the people who matter the most to us. We use natural and domestic materials that will develop an authentic patina through regular use, while encouraging proper care of the items. we support local craftspeople, believe in minimal design, and create an aesthetic that can seamlessly fit into most environments. In our disposable world, many new things are created that come and go, but we offer something that is meant to stay.
Devin Schaffner (rekindle) believes that owning and experiencing high-quality objects increases the quality of our lives. We want to provide products that can be enjoyed for a lifetime with the ultimate goal of creating heirloom products. We are rethinking how to reconnect traditional values in our modern world.
Frugivore is an ongoing project in which I attempt to communicate biologically with tomato plants by exploring a symbiotic relationship that exists between mammals and their food. To do this, I am growing plants from the seeds of tomatoes that I purchased from the grocery store, then ate, and deposited in my waste. The seeds were then harvested, grown into fruiting plants, and the cycle is continued by eating and growing further generations of the same tomatoes. This work illustrates the process of seed scarification: the way in which seeds travel through an animal’s digestive system where they are broken down and prepared for germination and growth. Since 2011 Frugivore has been developed into several exhibition strategies including large greenhouse installations, food-based workshops, and edible components, emphasizing questions around the nature of disgust, issues in agriculture, and human participation in our own food systems.
– Amanda White
Amanda White is a Toronto-based artist whose current projects explore ideas around human/plant encounters and relationships, interspecies exchanges, permaculture, symbiosis, and the real versus imagined in nature. Her practice includes research; drawing; and collaborative, participatory and interdisciplinary works that have been supported by the Canada Council for the Arts and SSHRC. Most recent exhibitions and projects include: PlugIn ICA (Winnipeg), Neighborhood Spaces Residency (Windsor), the Ontario Science Centre, GrowOp (Toronto), and Food, Water, Life (residency) at the Banff Centre. White is a PhD student in Cultural Studies at Queen’s University, she holds an MFA from the University of Windsor and a BFA from Ontario College of Art and Design University.
I have many fond memories of countless family gatherings around tables at Chinese restaurants and banquet halls. These were plentiful dinners – celebrations with extended family to mark special occasions and milestones. A typical Chinese banquet consists of 10-12 courses. I must admit that the dish I always looked forward to most was the soup. I admired the ornate tureen the soup was served in, and savoured its rich flavours and texture. As a child and adolescent, I was never fully aware of any of the negative connotation associated with shark fin soup. It was just another part of the celebration.
– Patrick Yeung
Patrick Yeung is a Toronto-based potter. He is a graduate of the Craft and Design program at Sheridan College. After completing his studies at Sheridan in 2006, he continued to hone his craft with a 2 year apprenticeship with Dundas, Ontario potter, Scott Barnim. Yeung designs and creates unique, finely crafted tableware. His work reflects his interests in his Cantonese heritage, the routines of cuisine and dining traditions, and contemporary design. He melds these influences to create work that is useful, pleasing, and memorable.