At Praxis Gallery, a new solo exhibition of food photography goes beyond the image of a social media hungry restaurant patron balancing a cellphone over an untouched meal.
Aptly titled “The Cookbook,” the New York gallery’s show features a photo series by Argentine artist Lucia Fainzilber, whose work provides a tantalizing display of color and form that aims to explore themes of identity through food.
Presented as a group of dishes, the photographs each contain plated ingredients, arranged and set on top of a background that corresponds with the color palette of the delicacy. The resulting images create a mélange of hues and textures that merge the vibrant organic forms of the food with the ornate prints of the table settings.
“’The Cookbook’ is an homage to the new visual hegemony that food carries in contemporary art: a trendsetting agent, an art form, the subject of food has even landed leading roles in television series and awarded it its own food porn and foodie hashtag,” the gallery stated in an announcement. “Each of these dishes in ‘The Cookbook’ presents a different combination of ingredients, all of which co-exist in an attempt to create a harmonic feast for the eye.”
The photographs included in the exhibition recast the traditional image of a still life into the familiar layout that one might find while scrolling through digital platforms such as Instagram or Pinterest.
“The representation of food used to serve as figurative elements in still-life compositions,” read the statement. “These decorative paintings were as meticulously staged as today’s posts, and anticipated the overhead shots that are now universal in the visual language of food of our digital times.”
Fainzilber’s new exhibition continues the themes of her previous project, “Somewear,” a photo series that explored the photographer’s immigrant identity and cultural assimilation through fabric. In “The Cookbook,” Fainzilber uses food as the conduit for this examination and as, the artist states on her website, “another prime element in our lives as immigrants.”
An “interactive reception” on July 11 will open the show.
Top Image: "Blanc — The Cookbook Series," Lucia Fainzilber. Photo courtesy of the artist and Praxis Gallery NY.