ABXY is pleased to announce Offal a solo exhibition by Los Angeles-based artist, Arden Surdam. Opening June 27th, the photographs in Offal (denoting entrails or internal organs of a recently slaughtered animal) explore the gendered, classified, racially dissonant myths historically coded into our ideas about food.
Through Surdam’s lens, the absurd tension between gastronomical truth and tradition comes into focus. In her images, the artist stages raw ingredients like liver, ray fish, oysters, and dead birds in scenes, which recall the still life paintings of canonical masters like Chardin, Soutine, and Bacon. Set within the glorified compositions of traditional genre paintings, Surdam’s photographic still lifes playfully tempt and offend our appetites, inviting the viewer to consider the overarching cultural narratives responsible for our preposterously sugarcoated notions of taste.
In addition to food materials, the artist often interjects pages torn from vintage American cookbooks into her unruly table-scapes, posing the active decay of organic matter in conversation with the saccharine vernacular of culinary pop-culture. By juxtaposing conventional representations of food with the grotesque realities of the kitchen, Surdam reveals the ever-growing distance between farm and table, while exposing tropes deeply embedded into our concepts of class and cuisine.
For Offal, the artist will also present a site-specific installation, which includes a donut shaped algae tank, filled with the trending cyanobacteria, spirulina. Today used as a dietary supplement for both humans and livestock, the growth will mutate continuously throughout the duration of the show, reflecting the volatility of our collective tastes.
Arden Surdam (b. 1988 New York, NY) received her MFA from the California Institute of the Arts in 2015 and her BFA from Oberlin College in 2010. Her work has appeared in GARAGE Magazine, CARLA, Tzvetnik, Singing Saw Press, Kubaparis, Paris Photo Parcours, TERREMOTO, and Photograph Magazine among other publications. Recent exhibitions include: NAUSEA, Galveston Artist Residency, Galveston, TX (2019); Hold Your Breath, SLOAN Projects, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Not All There, Human Resources, Los Angeles, CA (2018); A Curious Herbal, GARDEN, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Real Shadows for Mere Bodies, College of the Canyons with Stephanie Deumer, Santa Clarita, CA (2017); Exposed with Jo Ann Callis at the California Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA (2017); Paris Photo (2017), and Solid Liquid at The Situation Room, Los Angeles, CA (2016).