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Edible Women

A show of new media pieces by Cecilia Berkovic, Maria Legault, Louise Lilliefeldt, Jennifer Matotek, Beth MacEachen and Anica Vucetic.

Deleon White Gallery, Toronto. 2005.





Edible Women, a contemporary art show opening at Emmersive New media on February 24, explores the impact which consumption and consumerism exert upon our lives, as seen through the eyes of five young artists who comment on sustenance, fashion and spiritual comfort (or lack of it) in modern society. In a playful, often sinister manner, these artists tackle the theme of consumerism in innovative ways.

Maria Legault (who recently won the Emerging Artist of The Year prize at the Toronto Untitled Art Awards) will present her video entitled "Crumbs", borrowing a song from the ubiquitous Sesame Street character Cookie Monster, and turning it upside down with nefarious results. Beth McEachen's miniature sculptures made entirely from nail polish enamel make a comment on fashion's inability to satisfy our emotional cravings. Her work took a bizarre twist when these pieces were stolen during a recent exhibition, adding a new dimension to the work. McEachen will exhibit photographs of these stolen pieces, together with a new compelling piece fusing Chanel nail polish packaging with Victorian curio cabinets. Anica Vucetic sent her piece by mail all the way from former Yugoslavia. It is an audio installation entitled "I Eat My Friends", proving that the telephone receiver can be as assuaging as a home-cooked meal. Jennifer Matotek uses dime store pictures of trucker rigs and juxtaposes these images of strength and dependability with negative affirmations in her video installation entitled "Sixty Pathetic Trucks". And Cecilia Berkovic (of Instant Coffee fame) will present a set of self-portraits in which she sports a hat emblazoned with the slogan "I Love Life". The slogan however refers to "Life Brand", a subsidiary of Shopper's Drug Mart. Berkovic exposes with this double entendre the ironies of advertising in a hilarious, lighthearted manner.

Not long ago, Beth MacEachen exhibited her sculptures which were no bigger than a thumb. Made entirely of nail polish enamel, MacEachen's sculptures resembled futuristic Henry Moores, adopting the language of modernism and subverting it by minimizing its size and by using iridescent nail enamel as her medium, taking the essence of the glamorous images from nail polish ads in glossy fashion magazine advertisements and distilling this essence into a diminutive solid, compact mass, like matter inside a black whole. Their minuscule size however, made McEachen's sculptures prime candidates for theft, so she exhibit photographic images obtained from her works, before they went missing. Thus providing us with a carbon copy of a carbon copy highlighting fashion's inability to provide meaning when seen in stark contrast to the realities of the world that surrounds us.

Jennifer Matotek's video, "sixty pathetic trucks" is a litany of negative affirmations superimposed on images of trucker rigs. Created in response to a deep depression, Matotek's images of trucks manage to be hopeful and hopeless at the same time. Messages such as "I need to understand why" and "Sometimes I feel so guilty" have been applied with cake icing, a material which harks to happy occasions such as weddings and birthday parties. By using cake icing as a medium for writing her "pathetic" messages over what is essentially an image of strength and dependability, Matotek expresses a deep-seated longing for release from emotional pain which cannot be assuaged by the trappings of modern consumer society.

Anica Vucetic's response to this deep seated need for comfort is her piece entitled "My friends are my blanket", a sound installation which will occupy the central area of the gallery. The installation consists of a "blanket fortress", like the ones which are made by children in their bedrooms. Inside the fortress will be a CD player and a looped recording of messages of hope and friendship from her loved ones. The viewer will be invited to enter this womblike environment, put on the headphones, and experience the warmth of friendship emanating from the recorded messages.



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