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Pickle-casso! Park Slope art show features food-centric works

The Brooklyn Paper
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It is art imitating lunch.

A new art show at 440 Gallery in Park Slope is all about food. Not all of the pieces will get your mouth watering, but the show’s curator hopes they will get you thinking about these everyday objects in a different way.

“The things that we surround ourselves with in daily life have such deep meanings,” said Jennifer Coates, who herself paints edible objects in her Sunset Park studio.

“Food for Thought” features 26 artists that Coates selected from around 100 submissions. Some of the potential pieces tried to stretch the meaning of the show’s theme, but Coates wanted things to be a little more literal. That doesn’t mean every work is instantly recognizable as a snack, though, she noted.

“They aren’t always showing food in a realistic way,” Coates said. “But they’re lifting the food out of its everyday context.”

The selected works include a cake made out of cement, a blue chicken carcass, and a photograph of a row of Cheetos on an orange background. Sometimes presenting food in an unfamiliar context draws attention to interesting details, Coates explained.

“Usually it seems ridiculous to think about something like the shape of a Cheeto going back to Neolithic times,” she said.

One piece in the show by Sunset Park artist Rachel Youens depicts some slightly abstract food-stuffs being pushed through a doorway made of bread. Food has been a focus of her work several years, she said.

“Art is often an offering of sorts,” Youens said. “And food is a good metaphor for that.”

Youens said she also looks to food for inspiration, as it represents the cultures that produce it — especially bread.

“Breads are nature translated into culture,” she said. “Every culture has its own bread.”

And she feels that the ethos behind “Food for Thought” — to get people thinking more deeply about the things we eat — is important.

“Our culture is so focussed on food, we sometimes take it for granted,” she said.

“Food for Thought” at 440 Gallery [440 Sixth Ave. between Ninth and Tenth streets in Park Slope, (718) 499–3844, www.440gallery.com]. Through Sept. 14. Free.

Updated 10:51 am, August 25, 2014
Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260-8310. E-mail him at mperlman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
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