Mary Ellen Johnson Shows Her Lifelike Food Paintings in Soho
"Sticky Bun" by Mary Ellen Johnson
Mary Ellen Johnson started painting food as a way to cope with struggles surrounding her weight. What she didn't expect was to have a solo show at SoHo gallery OK Harris where she could showcase 11 of her large-scale detailed paintings food paintings.
"It was a good subject for me to explore... what food means to me," Johnson said on Thursday afternoon. "The emotional attachment people have with food, the different things that it means."
"PB&J" by Mary Ellen Johnson
To her, tasty treats have become her artistic inspiration. Johnson baked each creation, lemon meringue pies or chocolate eclairs, as many times as it took to get a near-perfect image that she could photograph. Then, she used oil paints to recreate the image in exquisite detail, down to the last burnt end of a s'more. She wanted to capture an almost unattainable version of her edible subjects.
"It's presented in its heightened desirability," she said. "You go to a dessert place and the food is so desirable. You want to, but you can't and you feel bad that you can't."