Artist Mixes Meaning into Her Cupcake Creations
Grad Uses Dozens (and Dozens and Dozens) of Them in Solo Exhibition
Jul. 1, 2010
Cupcakes are on a roll. Specialty bakeshops are dedicated to them, television programs teach creative ways to bake them, and now at least one Dallas gallery has dozens of them – as artwork, not refreshments.
Muffin Tops, a new exhibition by Leah Foster made entirely of cupcakes, is on display at GuerillaArts in Dallas through July 16.
Foster, who graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas in December 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in art and performance, bakes cupcakes – lots of cupcakes.
Leah Foster says her cupcakes are designed to elicit mixed reactions.
“I've always been kind of obsessed with cupcakes. My kitchen is decorated with cupcakes, and I bake them all the time, but I very rarely eat them,” she said. “When I decided to work with cupcakes, I realized that the cupcake is my guilty pleasure. I am both attracted and repulsed by them.”
Through her sometimes massive assemblages, Foster tackles themes of excess, nostalgia and gender issues in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
The cupcake serves as a means of exploring body image expectations fashioned by the mass media.
Instead of paint, she uses cupcake batter and frosting to glaze the surface of the gallery. The batter functions as paint, yet does not attempt to hide its identity as a food product. In exposing the duality of the cupcake, Foster means for her work to question the physical expectations of the human form. The viewer experiences and visually devours the pieces within the series, and in doing so, actively confronts the beauty stereotypes of current mass media.
And though her art could be consumed, Foster recommends against it. “Most of the work calls for very stale, hard cupcakes. With the 10-foot tall cupcake towers, the cupcakes must harden before I stack them, otherwise they just fall apart. But I don't do anything to preserve them. That's an important part of the work. It may or may not last forever. So far, my cupcakes from December are still good!”
GuerillaArts is located at 1900 N. Haskell Ave. in Dallas.