Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Food As Art

The husband and I went down to the Akron Art Museum on Saturday to see an exhibition of photographs by Edward Weston. It’s a retrospective of this 20th century artist’s entire body of work. The black and white images are stunning and it was interesting to see how his vision evolved, both in terms of how he looked at a single subject and his seeing over time. There are nudes and landscapes, portraits of people and places.

His sensuous rendering of a pepper has become iconic but I was especially taken with his photos of edible things that were less familiar to me- eggs, a mushroom, cabbage, all receptacles for light and shadow. Days later I can still see the long, leggy bunch of radishes he paid homage to, as lovely and intimate an expression as anything he ever did of a woman. Of course, such work speaks mostly to his incredible talent but it is also a reminder for me of the beauty lurking in ordinary moments and simple insignificant things. Suddenly a handful of strawberries spread out on the wooden cutting board are more than just something to slice onto a bowl of cereal. I stop, stare, consider their curves and colors, their relationships to one another and to the little bit of late morning sun that makes its way through the window and into my kitchen. If I were a photographer, I’d take a picture. Instead I just take in the scene and give a mental nod of thanks to Weston for awakening my perceptions.

Only four more days to see this terrific show- it closes Sunday. Well worth the trip and the time.

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