Food, paint, and iconic imagery mix into one delicious work of art entitled Butter & Sugar, now on view in our Summer Hours show. Instead of cooking up a small, simple piece, Copley Artist Thomas Stocker created and served this artwork like an extravagant sheet cake: large, beautifully detailed, and a feast for the eyes.
Butter & Sugar, below, features a female restroom door sign which grows like a stalk of corn—a foodstuff that Stocker identifies as “the quintessential summertime treat.” On either side, she is surrounded by milkweed, the sweet plant that monarch butterflies and caterpillars depend on to survive.
Butter & Sugar, acrylic on canvas, 60 x 36”
But Stocker did not paint Butter & Sugar merely to make our mouths water. Speaking on the milkweed plant, he explains that “[u]nfortunately, a selective herbicide in cornfields kills the milkweed and deprives the caterpillars of food, causing a great reduction in the monarch population over the past 30 years.” With this new understanding, Stocker’s piece highlights how our summer appetites for corn figuratively consume the lives of monarch butterflies—which ultimately leaves us with a bad taste in our mouths.
Furthermore, the culturally-relevant topics featured in Butter & Sugar are prominent in Stocker’s new series, “Beyond the Restroom.” In his distinct painting style that evokes the woven patterns of oriental rugs, Stocker’s series includes paintings of the restroom silhouette to illustrate other current cultural, social, or political events.
And, this is not the first time that Stocker has been inspired by iconic imagery. In the past, Stocker has painted other iconic images, such as:
Parapluis A La Poppins, acrylic on canvas
Alter Ego, acrylic on linen
and Andy Warhol.
Homage to Soup: Portrait of A.W, acrylic on canvas
But unlike some of his previous works, Butter & Sugar mixes the iconic restroom symbol with an environmental message and a dash of summertime colors and themes. Any way you slice it, Butter & Sugar includes fascinating layers that can appeal to those who wish to have a taste.
Butter & Sugar is now on view in the Summer Members Show: Summer Hours, on view through August 16.