“Intimate Feasts,” a new show of Still Lifes by Sandra Bloodworth sandrabloodworth.com, opens today at the Benjamin Cardozo School of Law, in the school’s 7th floor reading rooms. As stated on her press release: “Bloodworth’s lush and colorful paintings celebrate the joys of her daily life, depicting shared moments of meals prepared by her husband and muse, Fred May. Whether dining as a couple or with friends or family, Bloodworth and May have turned the daily routine of dining into an artistic collaboration that Bloodworth ultimately documents on canvas.”
The immediate impression, on glancing over the entire show, is one of very even handling. The handling appears even to the point of being predetermined. This artist is not riddled with self-torture on some search for unconventional truth. This art is born of stability, and expresses joy and thankfulness. The paintings are uniformly clean of color and surface -- more than clean -- meticulous. As though, as you would want no grunge or slovenliness to render your dining table unappetizing, you wouldn’t want such poor housekeeping to mar your viewing experience, either. The artist deems the consumption of food and the viewing of her art that closely related.
As you peruse these 33 paintings, don’t look for major “plot changes.” Yet, within the narrow range of scope, the consistency in the vantage point, and the reliable sugar rush color, there is a good deal of change. For, at every new dish, or table setting, or choice of flowers (flowers are a constant presence in the table settings), new color choices, the key characters on the stage, make a discreet entrance.
These paintings function as full records of treasured meals, and cherished moments. I asked Ms. Bloodworth, via the internet, to tell me the title of a painting. I described the contents of the painting to her, and she came out with all of this:
“ That was part of a Labor Day weekend with close childhood next door neighbors, and lifetime friends, and two other long time friends who come to Cape May.... It was their first trip to Cape May but not their first feast together! One of many savored. The dinner first course was Fred's tricolor goat cheese salad, and the entre with mussels was cioppino and grilled bread. These friends always talk about the food and Fred is in his element. While all the guests were artists... the talk that night was about food, wine and an adventure in a new and magical place.”
“June 4, 2006, 2 PM.”
Sandra Bloodworth has exhibited widely. She is known primarily as a figurative painter with an emphasis on portraits. She is director of New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s Arts for Transit program and a coauthor of Along the Way: MTA Arts for Transit.
“Intimate Feasts” will be on view in the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law Library from March 5 through June 15, 2009. The exhibition is open Sundays to Thursdays from 10 AM to 6 PM, and on Fridays from 10 AM to 4 PM. Cardozo is at 55 Fifth Avenue at the corner of 12th Street in New York City.