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As the season of gluttony approaches, StART SPACE is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of new works by Lucy Orchard. Titled Supper, it showcases paintings that explore, analyse and depict food as never before. In this exhibition historical facts related to food such as the Great Fire of London, old fashion recipe books, current issues such as allergy and food intolerances as well as cannibalism combined with stylistics references to Caravaggio, Spanish & Dutch Still Life as well as 20th Century artists such as Patrick Caulfield give us a true visual feast.
In her work the artist questions and offers insight into what it means to have no option but to experience food from an altogether different perspective. She is inspired by those who have been unable to make choices (including herself) about one of the most basic prerequisites for sustaining life, and for whom the pleasure and enjoyment of eating has been removed and whose experience becomes little more than a necessity dictated by an innate survival instinct.
Consequently, hiding around the corner to that which appears as seductive and in abundance is a darker, more sinister side. Whether confronted with black humour or humbling observation, the ability to put a piece of bread in our mouths, without wondering, becomes questionable. Take for instance Farrynor’s a painting depicting bread and oven baked delicacies portrayed in Dutch Still Life style. It is inspired by The Great Fire of London (Farrynor was the baker of Pudding Lane) but the artist’s interest here is not Pudding Lane itself but the Golden Boy of Pye Corner in Smithfield’s, a monument that marks the spot where the fire stopped and whose inscription somehow indicates that the Fire was evidence of God’s Wrath on the City of London for the sin of gluttony.
Mirage, another painting on show, is inspired by ‘In Memory’s Kitchen’ - a recipe book based on the Nazi's 'model' ghetto Theresienstadt where people fantasised about food. Called ‘cooking with the mouth’ the prisoners, undernourished, even starved, not only reminisced about favourite foods but also had discussions, even arguments, about the correct way to prepare dishes. To recall food in such desperate circumstances must have helped reinforce a sense of self and to assist in a struggle to preserve life says Lucy Orchard and assures that the painting is not intended to reflect the horror of living with the constant fear of death, but is rather about a desire for food that could only have ever existed in their thoughts, about how memories remain distant, sometimes distorted. In her composition, ingredients compiled from the book are translated into modern day ingredients such as Black & Green’s dark chocolate bars.
There is a tendency here to lead you up the garden path, (with a tempting invitation to supper), then shutting the gate. Climb over at your peril.
Lucy Orchard was born in the UK in 1966. She studied in Cumbria and Gloucest