REFLECTION: SUBJECT: Time: An Investigation into Food Decay

 Looking back at my subject work, I have really worked out of my comfort zone and steered away from the work I would typically create. When thinking about time as a brief, I instantly thought about things changing over time. After coming across Sam Taylor Wood’s “Still life” piece, I embarked on working on artistically portraying an investigation into food decay. I have used physical mould and decay as a medium to produce art and I have also tried to replicate the look of mould using mixed media techniques. I have enjoyed using materials that are not typically for use within art, like sugar and cotton wool and it has opened my eyes to the fact that it is how you use an d manipulate the material you are working with that creates successful art work, not the material itself.

I think the bread filled perspex box that I have produced is particularly successful because it gives me and the viewer an insight into how things decay. We would not usually leave bread to decay for that long in our households and so it allows others to see the colours that moulds produce and the hidden beauty of the natural things that we take for granted or find repulsive. I also feel that my photographs and video of my decaying art piece are particularly successful as they accurately capture change and decay over time. Also, visually beautiful photographs have been captured even though they are portraying something repulsive. I do wish that I could have left the piece to decay for longer but I simply did not have the facilities to do so safely. My experimentation with photo montage produced interesting outcomes and highly unusual subject matter to paint from. Working with Petri Dishes was a success in my eyes as they gave clarity and added a sense of realism to the fake mould that I had painted within them. It also encourages people to question what they think they see. I have never really worked with 3D or sculpture before and I think that my sculptural final piece for this project is a success. It is visually appealing and there is a strange juxtaposition going on between the perfectly formed fruit and the fake decay mouldy looking exterior.

Looking back, I do not feel that the coloured mould experiments I produced were particularly successful. I feel that they don’t really fit in with the rest of the work made within this project and that they almost look to appealing to the eye and no longer look mouldy or as if they are portraying decay. Filling perspex boxes with vegetables and fruits and photographing them was also unsuccessful as when the foods decayed they leaked liquids that the boxes simply couldn’t contain. They also attracted bugs and fruit flies and I had to get rid of them in fear of my health and the welfare of other students that were working near my desk.

In conclusion, I feel I have managed to create a substantial investigation into food decay inspired by a variety of artists and full of experimentation with materials and techniques. I think I have managed to capture a frozen moment in the decay process using artist materials a well as portraying how decay develops over time through 3D work and photography. I have analysed whether this body of work can be considered art and decided that setting is incredibly important in this. I have successfully created two final pieces that definitely demonstrate an investigation into food decay and worked with a subject that I feel has shown me and others that there are fascinating things out there that on a daily basis we take for granted.


2 Comments on “REFLECTION: SUBJECT: Time: An Investigation into Food Decay”

  1. martin says:

    hello Gemma. im an art student doing my first year of A levels and at the moment i am looking into food decay over time like you were/are. im so happy i found your blog and its just what i needed considering what im doing in art at the moment. Just wondering, could give me any ideas about what i could do with this as quite frankly im not entirely sure how i could go with this! :/ . im thinking of doing a moldy fruit face like you did and i wondered how you created the moldy effect on the fruit face with paint, as that would be very useful!
    thank you for your blog as, well its pretty dam intresting and useful! :).
    many thanks martin.

    • Hi Martin!
      Interesting that you are investigating food decay, and thank you very much for commenting on my work, this was work that I created on the first year of my fine art degree! Advice, rather than tackling the subject as a whole, maybe you could work with a particular angle, why are you working with food decay? Are you documenting time? I was, but also I was investigating the beauty of mould and how there can be beauty in things that people find repulsive. Decay is different as art than it is in your fridge if you see what I mean! As for how I created the mould effects, I mixed sugar and modelling paste into my paint in a variety of browns, greens etc, and used cotton wool on the surface. I would recommend having a look through some of the artists I have looked at through this process, if you click the subject category on this blog, it will come up with all the decay related work hopefully. Good luck with your A level Project! Gemma 😀

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