The Joy of Cooking
by Rachel Bee Porter

project STATEMENT

Having grown up reading a multitude of home and lifestyle magazines, my work confronts the expectations that developed from buying into the photographic fantasies depicting the pristine and perfect domestic life. I devoured every issue of Martha Stewart Living that I could find. Drawn in by the beautiful eye-catching images, I absorbed all of the tips, tricks, and how-tos in those pages because I was convinced that I would need them someday.

Implementing the skills that I learned from years of studying magazines, I bake elaborate cakes and then I throw them into carefully arranged scenes and photograph the outcome. By appropriating the lush, brightly colored imagery of magazines and perverting it, my work explores the aftermath of unfulfilled expectations. The disillusionment manifests itself in a playful, yet irreverent defiance. I subvert the delicately crafted trompe l’oeils found in commercial and editorial photography by corrupting typical, expected domestic techniques.

Using a cross-disciplinary approach that combines aspects of performance, sculpture, and painting, I create colorful domestic scenarios that serve as the stage for my actions. I photograph these scenes using a 4×5 camera. Afterwards, I scan the film and create large-scale digital c-prints.

My work is an ironic commentary on the picture-perfect world created in the glossy pages of lifestyle magazines and the frustration that ensues from trying to attain that perfection. Through the intermingling of creation and destruction, I explore the reality beyond the glossy varnish and the destructive consequences of disappointment.

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