Dog Glove Hand: Stairwell Gallery
Rxbars-going going gone
My initial interest in using the Rxbars came from a feeling of my own attraction to them and my consumption of this food. Their branding, their design of their packaging, their positioning among health food and their perceived transparency in the listing of the contents compelled me to buy and consume them. In my mind, these Rxbars were something you could eat daily for health. Their font offered validity and the lifestyle was somehow connected to a notion of health and fitness. The idea that they contained oil was not a part of this imagining or of their consumption.
I was thinking about printmaking and surface.
I opened the packaging to reveal the slightly sticky yet firm 2 x 3 inch rectangle of compressed nutrients and placed it onto the paper surface. The oil left a mark that looked like language. I started to ask myself what this language was saying by arranging the bars like text. They would release their oil mark, and I would use a brown crayon to trace the shape. The brown crayon was like the color and texture of the bar, waxy. The oil would bloom past the initial delineation, unconstrained by the passing of time and the soaking in of the oil into the paper fibers.
Paper is like skin:
The language was at first words, then sentences, then grew into forms, and finally into the creatures. These creatures revealed a sort of digestion of the ideas and the process. Psychological in their visual language, these intestine like expressions of thoughts characters symbols are a digestion of my embodied visual language as it expresses itself in relationship to working with this food material. I eat the bars often while processing, while drawing- literally digesting the material both in the mind and body. This is a compulsive impulse, sometimes uncontrolled craving to process the now oil lessened rectangular food that has left its mark upon the paper surface. My relationship to food has changed during the making of this work, leaning to loss of control.
The work has revealed to me our systemic disembodiment, and how this disembodiment has affected even the way we think about the idea of food. Our relationship to food extends to the way we have become separated from our own bodies and from other bodies, from our notions of being whole human beings, and from being able to process other human beings as whole people around us.
Our obsession with profit, with capitalism, with progress as a forward pushing forceful shoving of our humanness, has produced a systemic virus that has equated our self worth to our productivity of goods and services. We have lost our ability to digest nourishment of all kinds.
Our illusion of control within the system of consumption and capitalism depends on this disembodied selfhood to function.
I think of a yogurt as 80 calories, 14 grams of protein, and an apple is 98 calories. Blotting a pizza with a napkin removes 30-50 calories. 6 pizza oil transfers are 1,600 calories on the paper’s surface.
In conversing with the work and seeing the visual language that emerged, I felt surprised by what I saw. I am not separate from this system, I have bought into it, consumed it, digested it and have also benefited from this capitalism. The effect of it on my own disembodied selfhood, my own desensitization from my body, from others, from my food. I recognize how I have desired and bought into this system, and the RXbar for me became a way to reveal this to myself through a visual art-making process.
The digesting of our collective feeling now has helped me to deconstruct and understand the systems that I am in. It has offered me a visual processing of my present, so that I can change and construct myself again more whole.