Brimming with tension and tactility, ‘Gustatory Delights’, held within New College Nottingham’s Lace Market Gallery, was a sense-stimulating exhibition that sought to explore human reactions and interactions to one of our greatest cardinal needs: food. I spoke with exhibiting artists David John Scarborough and Colette Griffin about their multidisciplinary collections.
Elizabeth Neep: When did the interesting concept behind ‘Gustatory Delights’ arise?
David John Scarborough: Colette and I knew we wanted to do an exhibition together and we were kind of looking at the similarities in our practices and thinking about the ways in which we make things and we noticed that they both shared similarities with the structure of food.
Colette Griffin: Unwittingly, home economics, food, domesticity and cooking have permeated my more recent work as a result of constant exposure. My time spent out of the studio led to adjustments in my practice and for a time, my kitchen became my studio!
EN: How did this concept evolve into what we can see today?
DJS: We were talking about making the relationship for the viewer a bit different, a bit weirder… stranger. Often with both our work it’s got this kind of sensory reaction and we wanted to relate that to things that people already know to create a new kind of experience. One can see references to cakes, desserts; things that look like icing, biscuits, candyfloss but equally forms that could suggest faeces, internal organs, part of our digestive system… we were also thinking about how we make things; how the same recipes can lead to different outcomes.
CG: For a long time my practice has sought to establish a spontaneous, dynamic relationship between material and shape – ways of relinquishing full control of the outcomes through random generation, hasty fabrication, using unreliable materials…
EN: From film to prints to paper - this latest exhibition is very multidisciplinary…
DJS: In both of our practices, there have always been contrasting elements of 2D and 3D. In this exhibition especially I was thinking about the crossover between the digital and physical – so in some of the sculptures I used a mixture of matt and gloss spray paint – the plaster reliefs are 3D but the way the paint is put on creates this quite flat, digital, glossy aesthetic – and that’s the way I view quite a lot of art today, through Tumblr, through online resources.
EN: Is this embracing of the digital also referenced in your use of film?
CG: Yeah, Little Turnip [shown onscreen as part of the exhibition] is a video shot in my apartment… I started using food and making food as a creative outlet. The film shows me making and eating chocolate pasta…
DSJ: The video is about recording a process, a sense of materiality, viewing things through a screen. We are just interested in exploring a range of materiality and textures - that is the way both of us engage with art as a whole.
EN: What does the future hold for ‘Gustatory Delights’?
DJS: Both Colette and I are doing more stuff within New College Nottingham - Colette is doing a workshop on making pasta and I’m going to do a workshop on sculpture and how things progress between 2D and 3D forms. Then I have another show that I am working towards, which will be held in Croydon in March next year.
Stay tuned for more exhibitions created and curated by David John Scarborough.
Words: Elizabeth Neep
Photography: Colette Griffin