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Denise Stewart-Sanabria

Artist Statement Submitted 2019

Our species has an intimate, life-long relationship with what we eat, and it isn’t always good. We elevate nutritiously vacant food to a fetish level. We beautify some food to the point where it borders on toxic. We hybridize edible plants for their looks, not their taste. So much of this reminds me of human behavior within a social structure. I anthropomorphize food in my culinary paintings. Artificially colored pastries swim in fingernail polish. Candy that looks like it came from a lab act out narratives about radioactive mutation. I juxtapose backgrounds that suggest idealized historic narratives using toile wallpaper patterns with the “idealized” food from contemporary snack manufacturers. Fruits and donuts act out ancient fertility rites, while other produce and bakery goods suffer from age and trauma.
All of this occurs in dramatically lit stage settings that are intended to inspire multiple human appetites.

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