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ERICA EYRES
Family Meal

 

Opening reception
Sat Jul 16 | 2-5 pm
{artist in attendance}
Exhibition
Jul 16 – Aug 27, 2022

 

Norberg Hall is delighted to present Family Meal, an exhibition of ceramic
works by Scotland-based Canadian artist Erica Eyres.
Eyres is well known for her paintings of purposefully discomforting, confident, and confrontational nude female figures. Here Eyres presents work centered within her ceramic practice connecting her interests in accumulation, capitalism, food, and the dynamics that exist around the family dinner table and more widely throughout society.

 

A veritable cornucopia of ceramic sculptures of food fills the space: fruit and vegetables, PB&J sandwiches and lone slices of white bread, novelty coffee mugs, burgers, spaghetti and meatballs, Kraft Dinner, and spaghetti-o’s. The works are grotesque yet tantalizing, luridly inviting. Many of the works are individual food items while others represent both the food containers and the foods themselves such as canned peas and beans and tinned sardines. The artist makes each piece to scale playing with the materiality, weight, colour and cosmology of food – that which is necessary, intrinsically linked to our survival yet growing scarce as the climate crisis continues to escalate. Indeed, the paradox of making what keeps humans alive physically into that which keeps humans alive culturally and intellectually redirects our understanding and appreciation for both.

Eyres is drawn to novelty items that question our relationship to food and consumption, for example a ceramic burger ashtray found through a Google search spills over with old cigarette butts cum tiny sculptures. Resembling a 1950s-era suburban home or scenes from Mad Men more ash trays populate the exhibition, some of the stumped-out butts still lipstick stained retaining the touch of the body. There is no novelty linked to smoking per se but rather a specific aesthetic that accompanied the habit in that era, something almost unnamable carried forward generationally that seemed to be present in many homes. Cigarettes are by no means nutritional however the strong lineage between smoking and disordered eating is revealed through the inclusion of such pieces.

 A sense of nostalgia and familial memories of what any average North American family meal might have resembled are stirred visiting the exhibition. Despite our familiarity with these foods and even our own nostalgia for them the strength in Family Meal is revealed in how Eyres posits her critique of Westernized society’s capitalistic and consumerist backbone. What was once full of nutritional content or, at the very least had flavour and held substance the body could digest into energy have been rendered nutritionally void. Now as art objects Eyres’ works hold new or altered value. Each piece is now an aesthetic possession furthering the artist’s critique surrounding our fraught relationship to food and how we value it.

Family Meal is a pastiche, a cartoon in 3D, darkly humorous and unsettling. Like a settler colonial feast of consumption laid down before the visitor, the ultimate family meal, a secular last supper where Jesus is not welcome.  As Patti Smith might say Jesus ate at the last meal, but not mine. The artist pays homage to food while critiquing the disparities present in the Western world’s consciousness around consumption, possession, disordered eating habits and ultimately the din of capitalism ringing ever louder in our ears. Erica Eyres playfully presents a dysfunctional family meal turning on its head the functionality of food, art and the object.

 

Maeve Hanna | Art Writer

Erica Eyres | Mug: Coffee (angry baby) | 2022 | glazed stoneware | SOLD

Erica Eyres lives and works in Glasgow. Through videos, drawings, and sculptures, Eyres’ work explores narrative fallacies that complicate the viewer’s understanding of the author’s subjective truth and problematizes the notion of the autobiographical.  Eyres’ sculptures feature ceramic wigs, balloons, and gloves that are rendered flat, as though cast aside. Despite their obvious reference to costumes and disguise, the wigs and gloves become un-wearable in their concrete copies. These clay versions suggest a kind of relief sculpture that is figurative, yet deflated and absent of human form. Recent shows include Too Shy To Party at Plaza Plaza, London (2021); A Bit More Exciting at OTP Copenhagen (2021); and Fascinated Witness at Korai Projects, Nicosia, Cyprus (2019).

 

Erica’s Artist Page

Erica’s CV

Galleries West

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