June 2019 - Musee Magazine
You are what you eat. Beyond medical fact, this aphorism provides the perfect launching point for a dissection of America’s culinary and cultural DNA. The laboratory of choice? The Yancey Richardson Gallery, where photographers Sharon Core and Lisa Kereszi proffer distinct, yet united reflections on the state of the country and its inhabitants.
Immediately upon entering the gallery, you’re greeted by a slab of blueberry pie à la mode served on a canvas intent on devouring the wall behind it. Looking around, you see a room dominated by a macabre menu of American classics as seen through the lens of Sharon Core. Baked potatoes, burgers, and desserts arrest the eye wherever it wanders. There’s only one way to digest it all, though, one bite at a time. So lifelike, they could almost be real. Based on sculptures made by artist Claes Oldenburg in 1961, this collection of photographs serves to remind the viewer of the timelessness of the American palette. The ice cream sandwich belongs to no single generation, though. It’s a ladder through time.
Moving from photograph to photograph, you begin to wonder if this is how all the pictures of brunch that you post on Instagram appear to the world. Grotesque, yet oddly appetizing. On a deeper level, you reflect on what this smorgasbord reveals about prevailing attitudes about dining, as well as American culture as a whole. Standing before a strawberry cake outfitted in the American flag, you’re not sure if you want to salute or be sick. Supersized and overshined, you recall every Fourth of July and Labor Day BBQ where you’ve ever cracked open a cold one. Taking a stroll down memory lane, you might remember the fireworks and carnival rides. It’s at this point in the trail that Lisa Kereszi offers her services as guide and you are well-advised to follow her lead.
Kereszi’s place as a photographer is found among the cracks and back alleys of society, the forgotten nooks of yesterday. An advertisement for a banana split supplies a well-placed segue from the banquet hall you leave behind when arriving at Kereszi’s corner exhibition. Looking to your left, the rusted spigot of a water fountain makes its permanent retirement abundantly clear. Further echoes of exhaustion seep into the other photographs in the collection. Two amusement park murals ache with nostalgia for a time when the trash deposited at their base hadn’t yet fallen from the sticky hands of the children who’d ride the ferris wheel depicted. Standing in front of a puddle reflecting a sign advertising a topless bar, you recall the pain of a divorce you’ve never had the misfortune to suffer through. Entitled Walls, Surfaces, and Illusions, Kereszi’s exhibit seems determined to remind you that no art on any wall can rival the mirror of self-reflection. She’ll make sure you get there.
— Campbell George