What’s cookin’

Wayne Thiebaud, “Three Strawberry Malts,” oil on canvas, 1964.

Wayne Thiebaud, “Three Strawberry Malts,” oil on canvas, 1964.

December is a great month to hit the galleries, because most of them cram the walls with work by many artists. The end of the year really isn’t time to focus on one or two artists; instead, it’s a good time for a sort of recap of what a gallery has to offer.

One group show this month stands out. Not only is it a collection of work by 39 of the gallery’s artists but it also has an appropriate theme that fits the holidays: food and celebration. The show, titled A Feast for the Eyes, is at the Solomon Dubnick Gallery and runs until Christmas Eve. It features work by Gary Pruner, Jian Wang, Mick Sheldon, Mark Bryan, Terry Pappas and 34 others, including one painting by Wayne Thiebaud.

As with most group shows organized around a theme, the results and interpretations can be quite varied. Some artists took the direct and simple approach by doing still lifes—the skillfully painted apples by Pappas and the detailed charcoal drawings by Gwen Manfrin come to mind. Others—many, in fact—went way out to the far reaches of creativity for their entries. Eric Dahlin’s holiday-confusing “Santa Bunny” ceramic sculpture, the playful arrangement of porcelain vegetable shapes in David Furman’s pieces and the evil comic onions in John Berger’s “Go Ahead, Take a Bite” are examples of the extents to which some went for this show. And it doesn’t stop there; Bryan’s plays on “The Last Supper,” with his “The Endless Supper” and “Eating Alone,” both are so bizarre that there isn’t enough space here to go into them.

Then there are artists’ works that rest easily in middle ground—the main course, if you will. Wang’s “Girl with Peaches” and Jessica Dunne’s “Ucross Lunch Bag 1” are less about food and more just images that represent their styles well and just happen to have food in them. In the end, it doesn’t really matter much. This exhibit has so many great artists all showing quality work.

The theme? Well, that’s just icing on the cake.