There’s a well-worn path between my studio and the kitchen in my live/work apartment. When I’m not in the studio making paintings, I’m in the kitchen cooking. In both places, I engage my interest in material transformation, and satisfy my impulse to make things by hand. Sometimes I unintentionally set up still-lives as I cook that find their way into my paintings. Other times, the visceral qualities of the cooking process end up being translated into painting somehow. More often than not, a problem I have been trying to solve with a painting gets resolved as I’m chopping or stirring. As I move back and forth between these two physically proximate spaces, the psychological pathway between them fosters my best thinking, which, for me, happens when I’m using my hands.
The first image here is a small acrylic painting on paper from 2011 called Claimy. Below it is a picture of Julia Child eating an oyster, cut out of a 1979 cookbook that has been on the wall in my studio for about seven years. I have a collection of vintage cookbooks I look at often, but this image has particular resonance for me. One of the things I love about it is that even though the scene is quite self-consciously staged for a photo shoot, Julia is clearly experiencing joy and sensual pleasure- a real immersion in the moment. I like how the 1970’s color palate and staging provoke my own questions of taste, while the lusciousness and abundance of the oysters in their propped-up bowl stirs appetite and desire. I always paint from reference in some form, but it wasn’t until long after this painting was finished and hanging on the studio wall that I could see its clear relationship to the picture of Julia and her oyster tablescape. –Susan Bricker, 2013