One thing I can say for sure is do not walk into Amy Steven's exhibition, Confections, while hungry.
Okay, all joking aside, I wasn't really sure how I felt about this work when I first saw the exhibition card. I was automatically enticed by the bright colors and the flowers, because well I like these things; but I wasn't quite sure what I was looking at. And then I realized it was cake. Which leads me to my next thought, that it was a really gaudy, obsessive, flowery cake. But I still wasn't quite sure what to think of it.
Working the late night building hours, I get to hang out in the building by myself quite a bit. One thing that I like to do is I go into the gallery and admire the art by myself. I prefer to do this over the open gallery hours. I can look at the art and take as much time as I like without distraction. I did exactly this with Confections. Looking around at the photographs it was obvious to me that this was poking fun at the idea of female perfection. There was a sense of humor and even obsessiveness. It is a feminist view of how society values the near impossible perfection of craft and home making from woman.
During Steven's talk she discussed exactly what I was thinking. What started as her making and photographing 30 cakes for her birthday became a study of femininity and the idea of feminine perfection. With her failure of making the perfect birthday cakes, she decided to have fun with this project. It became about the humor, grossness, and imperfection. It is interesting on how she works with personal themes, but the work doesn't necessarily become personal.
One thing I appreciated about the talk is how Stevens not only focus on the progression of her art making but also discusses her influences, her environment, and explaining the goings on in her life. I feel that this is important to explain, especially when holding a discussion such as this in an academic setting. She said herself that we "cannot live in a bubble!" I feel that sometimes artists, students especially, don't look too much outside of their own environment. It is important to research other art makers, because their could be others thinking just like you are.