Spam, Velveeta and Jell-o take the spotlight in Darlene Kaczmarczyk’s thought-provoking display in the Rankin Art Gallery.
Kaczmarczyk combines vintage advertisements with modern photographs to put them in a new light. For example, one of her most striking works features a plate of gaudy, artificial looking gelatin in a serene natural setting. In the background two horses graze. Through these types of contrasts, Kaczmarczyk demonstrates the artificiality and preserved nature of our food.
Miles Skalnek, Ferris State University sophomore in pre-pharmacy, was intrigued by a picture depicting pig-shaped slices of spam in a field. His favorite work of art was one that showed a stalk of corn with candy corn growing out of it.
“Kids these days are eating too much candy,” Skalnek said. “They’re eating too many preservatives and not the real food, the natural stuff.
One of the main emphases of the display was how advertisers use words like “natural, luscious, delicious and healthy” to describe things that are far from it. From advertising Jell-o as being “full of vitamins and fresh fruit flavor” to descriptions of how fresh and flavorful frozen peas are, Kaczmarczyk exposes how easily we fall prey to marketing schemes.
Tim Eldred, FSU senior in new media print and publishing and Rankin Art Gallery docent, thought the exhibit speaks to the American need for convenience.
“In this society, we like things fast, we like good quality, and we like it all the time, such as in the frozen section. We want peas that are only grown in the summer time, but we want them in the winter time. I think we want it now, and we’re willing to sacrifice health and nutrition big time.”
Another part of the exhibit showed recreations of famous works of art, such as Hokusai’s painting of a wave made with goldfish and lifesaver candies. She also showed pictures of the words “wholesome” spelled out with candy and “homemade” with pancakes.
The exhibit will be in the Rankin Art Gallery until March 31.