Melissa Farris: Happy Cannibals at Material - Friday

by - December 06, 2012

Happy Cannibals will run from December 7 through December 29, 2012.

The opening reception for the exhibition will be on Friday, December 7 from 6-8 pm. 

Material is located at 2553 Broad Avenue. Parking is available on both the north and south sides of Broad Avenue.
About the show the Farris writes:

“I grew up in a family infixed with mid-century ideals.  Grandad was a chemist for DuPont, Gramps for General Electric, and Dad for Sun Chemical.  My grandmother’s house, a carefully preserved relic of the 1950’s, was decorated entirely in avocado, mint and strawberry. The easy flow of ink from the drawing pens of Mad Men trained my mother’s hand.

"Generations removed cannot feel, see, or touch the realities of generations past.  But, our imaginations are fed by the images they leave behind, images that less convey history and more evoke the desires of those who left them.  Even as a child flipping through musty back logs of Better Homes and Gardens I was struck by the pervasive influence of midcentury corporate America. The designers of Fifties Futurism turned refrigerators in to space pods and persuaded people that aspic was a good idea because it looked like something the Jetsons would eat.  They pushed women’s breasts into rocket shaped cones, and turned sausage-packing facilities into happy kitchens where pigs were pleased to baste themselves. 

"Looking through those magazines it seemed like plastic was beauty and there was no one who couldn't live better through chemistry. I love the colors and the adroit handling of ink and paint. I love the effort, almost valiant, to streamline, homogenize, pasteurize, idealize, and futurize everything.  Most of all, I love that it didn’t work.  Nature can’t be cured.  Images that floated through the vernacular of the time, benign as alphabet noodles in canned soup, now seem disconcerting.  Illustrations from cookbooks and advertisements for hyper processed foods seem particularly bizarre. For me they serve as embalms of that era’s disjointed relationship with reality. “Happy Cannibals” is a warm-hearted celebration of that failure.”

Melissa Farris received her B.F.A. from the University of Memphis in 2008.  She has exhibited at Marshall Arts, Material Art Space, the Memphis Gay and Lesbian Community Center, and the Kinsey Institute Gallery at Indiana University.  Melissa is currently the Special Exhibitions Curator for the Cotton Museum in downtown Memphis.

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