SHE WAS COOKING SOMETHING UP, 2014

art INSTALLATION

‘She Was Cooking Something Up’ takes the form of a kitchen art installation and details the trials of contemporary women, their struggle with diets and the constant striving for a perfect body.

On first impression the kitchen is immaculate and untouched, but on closer examination the secrets of women, obsessed by their figures and food intake, are revealed. On the wall, the clock ‘Weight a Minute’ has stopped at ten past four, the time that diets generally fail. Additionally, ‘Guilt Biscuits’ sit innocently on the counter, but on further inspection they have been cross-stitched with the words ‘guilt’ and ‘in control’. Throughout the exhibit, further challenging concepts can be discovered. Meticulous, hand sewn research and imagery can be found, for example, on cupboard doors, refrigerator magnets, and within the folds of a tea towel.

The vast majority of people who came to the exhibition were female. There was an exceptional response from the visitors, with many of them saying that they could relate to different aspects of the work. People engaged with the humour and the concept on a personal level. Discussions of their thoughts and experiences surrounding food were discussed standing in the space, or sitting around the kitchen table. Tales of eating disorders and body dismorphia were common talking points. It became apparent that food and a need for bodily perfection are worryingly significant concerns in the 21st century.

Ironing Bored

Ironing Bored

Labelled

Labelled

Don't Make A Meal Of It (detail of kitchen table)

Don't Make A Meal Of It (detail of kitchen table)


INSTALLATION ACCESSORIES

Sugar & Spice

Sugar & Spice

Skinny Pinny

Skinny Pinny

It's Only A Question Of Balance

It's Only A Question Of Balance

Oven Love

Oven Love

Wearing Thin

Wearing Thin


INSTALLATION IN PROGRESS

Installation in progress 1.jpg

TWO OF SIX PLANS DESIGNED BY THE ARTIST

Alexandra Palace wall (2) 7 metres.jpg
Drawing Plan 1.jpg

VISITORS COMMENTS

  • Very apt artwork for today’s obsession with dieting and being thin. I particularly like the white and fine line juxtaposition as it is like compulsion/obsession and clinical and controlled.

  • Absolutely fabulous work, the kitchen felt very surreal, like I was in another world - enjoyed the crisp whiteness of it, very thought provoking and intriguing.

  • On behalf of my daughter. “Thank you”. She is trying to teach her patients sensible eating patterns and this exhibition says it all. Excellent visual metaphors.

  • Caren’s work makes me aware of the vast amount of wasted emotional energy spent on thinking about size, weight, shape and how utterly meaningless it all is. Food should be a friend and not an enemy!

  • Amazing! A woman’s eye view of women. Beautiful stitching and very clever.

  • Provocative, thoughtful and extraordinarily executed. Thank you.

  • Beautifully made works with a message that every woman will recognise with a wry smile, or even laugh out loud. You really make people think. Thank you!

  • An inspiring and innovative approach to engage and communicate complex info on important issue.

  • I love the humour as well as the serious message. The beautiful work and brutal truth of it all. I was only every happy with my body when I gave up dieting in my twenties.

  • It speaks for many women including me! What an amazing piece of work.

  • Stunningly stitched, carefully researched, beautifully presented.

  • A very moving display, which made me feel very emotional and somewhat depressed! The cynical manipulation of women and their self-hatred and guilt is something to work against. My daughter and mother both have weight issues, which cause endless guilt and prevent their enjoyment of food and to a certain extent life as a whole! Thank you for raising and presenting these issues so clearly.


Measurement: 6m x 7m (installation)

Process: Hand stitch

Materials: Textile, silk threads, wooden plinths, kitchen furniture, kitchen accessories


Exhibited in:

'She Was Cooking Something Up’, Solo Gallery, The Knitting & Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace, London (2014)

'She Was Cooking Something Up’, Solo Gallery, The Knitting & Stitching Show, Harrogate, North Yorkshire (2014)