Wedding dresses, cakes, and flowers; cropped images of women’s manicured hands, hearty main courses, hors d’oeuvre platters, and luscious desserts shine from within Julia Jacquette’s glossy enamel-on-wood paintings. Cinematic details such as animated interactions between mothers and daughters, embracing couples, and fluttering eyelashes were juxtaposed with Pop-inspired food imagery layered with suggestive text for an exhibition that explored the anticipation and anxiety surrounding desire. The paintings on view stylistically resembled optimistic post-war era magazine illustrations, but beneath Jaquette’s polished renderings lays a critique of middle class Americana and its cultural reproduction through advertising.
Indeed, Jaquette’s coupling of erotic text with “innocent” cream puff pastries unmasked confusing cultural attitudes towards sexuality, gender roles, and longing, as pertinent today as they were fifty years ago.
This exhibition marked the first solo exhibition of a Skidmore College alumni artist at the Tang Museum. A 64-page full-color catalogue is available featuring an interview with Julia Jacquette conducted by Ian Berry.