Scott Richards Contemporary Art presents SWEET TOOTH, a group exhibition about our complicated relationship with sweets. Why have so many artists chosen to portray the subject of candy and desserts? What are the different ways they approach this ubiquitous subject? We hope to uncover some answers in Sweet Tooth, opening on Thursday, November 4, with a reception from 5:30-7:30, and continuing through December 31. A full-color catalog with essay by Bay Area art critic Chérie Louise Turner accompanies the exhibition.
Richly colored, rounded shapes, and sugar-coated surfaces make for luminously pure still life subjects. But for centuries, the subject of candy and desserts has also served as an ideal metaphor for human experience. It evokes simple nostalgia and shared memories, while tapping into the deeper realm of human desire. The longing for sweets echoes the pull of erotic pleasure, seduction and decadence, and their inevitable transience. At the same time, commercial sweets can serve as a means to expose our artificial, consumerist culture.
Wayne Thiebaud and Mel Ramos are well known as two of the original Pop artists of the 1960’s. Ramos’s figurative works equate sexual temptation with commodities, such as commercially produced candy. Thiebaud’s name is synonymous with the luscious, painterly depiction of unending rows of five & dime store pies and cakes. Alex Blau is a younger artist who has also been influenced by Pop art, however she pushes her compositions to the point of complete abstraction. Peter & Madeline Powell use illusionist technique, with incorporated text, to focus on intricate piles of commercial candy packages. One of the most respected Photorealist painters for over forty years, Audrey Flack arranges her crowded still life paintings as an exploration of the darker side of human emotion. In an altogether different view, Italian artists Luigi Benedicenti and Roberto Bernardi work in a more traditional photorealist style to create rich, elegant still lifes. With a flowing sensuality of paint and dramatic light, these sweets will literally make your mouth water. The paintings of Doug Webb and Tom McKinley offer desserts as unexpected focal points in larger landscapes, with a hint of mystery and surprise. In a play on the saccharin sweetness of some religious iconic imagery, David Michael Smith has replaced the Sacred Heart of Mary with a pastel pink bonbon. Daniel Douke, Peter Anton, and Dutch artist Tjalf Sparnaay present images of oversized, hyper-realistic petit fours, boxes of chocolates, and ice cream sundaes. With heightened color, exaggerated form, and often a dash of good humor, their works promise the unattainable: ultimate satisfaction.