Carl Warner : Edible Landscapes

In a recent conversation with a fellow artist and curator, he commented that the most banal form of art was unquestionably the painted landscape: living where we do, I understand that vitriol, as it could be postulated that on the Prairies, where the unfettered landscape is like a horizon line noose around your neck, painters here try to make it as inoffensive as possible.

But I feel the blame for that lies with the ‘artists’, not landscape itself: or, as I once joked, I could never forgive another photographer for having made nudes “bad” for me. But I persevered, and now I enjoy nudes, again. And often.

Carl Warner’s landscapes are odd: and you may not realize at first just why they strike you as not quite “right”, until you realize that “mountain” in the background is really a rough loaf of bread, or that forest is a grove of  broccoli, and that in the absence of people in his landscapes, the vegetables have grown to gigantic size, with unique applications….

The landscape that is all meats, from proscuitto to salami, is my favourite. I have lusted after an artwork before, but never in a culinary manner. I imagine a gallery reception, where the food and the artwork are one, where to graze at the buffet table is alternately the highest compliment to pay to the artist, or you’re shooed away for not simply devouring the work with your eyes, but being a philistine and not holding your baser urges in check. Tut, tut, this is art, please behave accordingly.

And Carl Warner has re invented the landscape, with these works: they are fun, a little silly (a ship cast out on a sea of cabbage, or a grove of mushrooms, only needing an Alice or houka smoking insect, a hot air balloon that is a clutch of bananas….) but also a bit disturbing, in that they stoke our hunger, while not in the least placating it.

It’s all very funny: but then when we think of how there is more than enough food to feed the entire world, but that a small percentage consume the most, and if we engage in the debate that ethanol production still uses a third world crop for the interests of the first world, these images become somewhat less amusing….

More of Warner’s “foodscapes” can be found here.