My practice is frequently located at the parameters of art. While living in London I ran a pop-up food stall called Howlin' Greens after which I explored the potential of food within art. Ritual, trust and temptation are strong themes that run through this Food Art. There is the notion of a time-based intimacy when you consider digestion as/part of an artistic act: it is often regarded as the ultimate artist/audience collaboration. The digestion of work becomes physical as well as metaphorical.
I wanted to explore rituals around eating/washing as well as the ritual of the art private view. The piece consists of a table with a part marble-imitation part wood-imitation vinyl finish, situated centrally under an arch – giving the affect of an altar. In the middle of this table is a screen with a video on loop: a close up of someone washing their hands, we realise that there is something peculiar about the action and as we watch for longer it slowly dawns on us that it is in reverse. The looping reinforces ideas of rituals, as repetition is an essential aspect of this, both in the habitual and religious sense of the word. The water shifts from milky to clear, rippled to calm, the actions of the hands, although definite, feel awkward and the rubbing of the soap becomes an eraser for itself. On the left hand side of the screen sits a folded pink hand-towel with a soap dish and bar of soap on top; like the vinyl it aesthetically imitates the video on the screen. Within the soap we can distinguish cashew nuts, and when brought close to the face we are able to smell them. On the right hand side of the screen sits a circular plate with finger food on: garlic crostini with a smoky cashew cream and a cashew nut on top: an imitation of the type of food one might consume at a private view. As we munch on our canapés and watch this (un)familiar action we are filled with a desire to wash or be washed: chiefly due to the affect of the haptic gaze. This enriches the tension that has already been established, by the peculiar action on the altar, through the anticipation of a never materialised action. The cross-modality of the senses in this work both collaborate and contradict: the smell and feel of soap confirms the action of washing while the smell and taste of garlic contradicts this action.