One of the beginning points for Arden Surdam’s current exhibition at Haven in Montauk became the 2018 Chaïm Soutine exhibition at The Jewish Museum in New York titled Flesh. The Soutine exhibition featured lifestyle artwork that incorporated chook, red meat carcasses, and crayfish inside the artist’s compositions. Surdam has been developing her personal still lifes, and when she received the comments that she had to push the boundaries in her work, she checked out the exhibition for the suggestion. “It virtually blew my mind,” stated Surdam, who embarked on a sequence of works that looked at the cultural hierarchies inside the international.
Titled Offal relating to organs and entrails being used as food, the collection is on Haven’s view in Montauk through Labor Day. Surdam had her own experience observing the complex dynamics of sophistication inside the meals enterprise in the Hamptons while she lived there together with her then-boyfriend, who’s a farmer. “It’s a beautiful place,” she stated. “It’s a complicated region East highlights 5 of Surdam’s pictures that feature seafood as topics, jumbled together with gadgets like pics from cookbooks from the ‘60s and ‘70s, antique dildos, and picnic blankets. Surdam took Document on tour East, explaining the purpose in the back of her still lifes, the objects within them, and the complex relationship among meals and sophistication.
I knew I wanted to do a bit, especially about oysters, and oysters are very licentious—vaginal and sexual…When I changed into bringing up the Soutine piece, it became because once I turned into looking at those special backgrounds, and I always use fabrics as my backdrops. It offers it that sense of textuality, fluidity in which it feels love it’s moist. For this piece, especially, because I was in Galveston, Texas, a barrier island, there are heaps of oysters and seafood there, to which I had to get entry.
There are records in portraying called Feast of the Gods, where [artists depicted] deities that would gather round and consume oysters, becoming very sensual. That’s something that I changed into referencing particularly. When I do present-day takes on nevertheless life, I often attempt to encompass little moments that can be like nods to the viewer if they, in reality, step into it. This [glass piece] is an antique butt plug. This is probably the maximum sexual piece, which I don’t suppose the general public recognizes to start with.
I desired the viewer to keep in mind that, nevertheless, lives pass. When you’re taking a picture, particularly when you’re using rotting substances, natural substances are clearly sanitized. They’re grotesque. However, it’s now not like you’re smelling what I’m smelling inside the studio. It’s gross. Also, I’m the use of these items, which are slippery and bloody. I wanted to do a still life in which I turned into virtually taking the viewer thru the manner wherein the gadgets are transferring, so there’s congealed pork blood, and regularly it will slip off. I’m actually inquisitive about questions of cultural patterning and hierarchies associated with meals.
For instance, the congealed red meat blood is something I got from a Korean marketplace. Oftentimes I’ll upload a photograph inside a photo, and I’ve been reducing out snapshots from Time-Life books from the ‘60s and ‘70s about what state-of-the-art cooking ought to be. In New York, when you communicate approximately cultural, historical past, it’s associated with meals.
My mom usually microwaved bacon, so it turned into by no means greasy. What the notion was suitable meals or sophisticated eating becomes very Eurocentric; it changed into very French and Italian cuisine. Everyone in those books is depicted as white. I turned inquisitive about incorporating that with materials that aren’t Eurocentric, from different elements of the world, and critiquing what we don’t forget delectable and grotesque.