Lederer exhibit an examination of societal food perspectives

“Ecology of Food: Past, Present, Future,” an exhibition that explores the oftentimes controversial human interaction with food, marks the start of a new semester at the Bertha V.B. Lederer Gallery in Brodie Hall.

The exhibition includes artwork of various mediums that depict or embody food from scientific, social, farming and consumptive perspectives.

Director of Galleries Cynthia Hawkins-Owen said that “Ecology of Food” is meant to showcase artists’ reactions to the effects of natural changes, genetic engineering, global warming and human action on food as a source of both human life and obsession.

One of multiple series included in the exhibition, which explores food in its most visceral form, is a group of microelectronic photographs by photographer Caren Alpert. Alpert took extremely close-range photos of high-profile foods including a blueberry, a fortune cookie and a pineapple leaf, and used a microelectronic camera stand to create an unexpectedly abstract effect.

The exhibition will also show a clip from Monsantra, a documentary by Jeff Schmuki and Wendy DesChene, on loop. According to Hawkins-Owen, Monsantra is the name of a creature created by Schmuki and DesChene that serves as a vehicle to discuss the Monsanto chemical company, an organization that genetically engineered plants to include poisonous pesticides in their molecular structure.

Artist Michael Singletary contributed a series of portraits to the exhibition including “Blue Man Eating Hotdog With Mustard” and “Early Breakfast.” The pieces are set apart by their unique patterning, almost neon bright hues and their joyful yet haunting depictions of food consumption.

“The way [Singleterry] places everything is kind of abstract and…surreal because of the exaggeration of the color,” Hawkins said.

The gallery will also host relevant speakers each Wednesday from 2:30 to 3:45 p.m. through Dec. 5.

The exhibition opening featured a presentation by Tom Rivers, author of the critically acclaimed book, Farm Hands: Hard work and lessons from Western New York fields. Other presentations range from artist talks to expositions, including assistant professor of anthropology Jim Aimers’ “Student Engagement with Food Issues at Geneseo.”

The show opened on Wednesday Oct. 3 and will run until Dec. 10.

“[‘Ecology of Food’ is] really representative of what a college exhibit should be like. It’s interdisciplinary: It pulls from a lot of different departments,” said gallery coordinator junior Lauren Slezak. “We have sociology represented, we have some more [science-related] things represented, obviously the arts are represented and I’m really excited to see the culmination of all three coming together.”