slideshow image

empty: marshmallows, popcorn & cigarettes | september 6th 2008

for his first solo exhibition, emerging mixed-media artist ruben nusz will exhibit new paintings and sculpture that address the empty nature of american dietary habits.

nusz's sculptures are meticulously cast and carved resin replicas of popcorn, marshmallows, and cigarettes. each object is sanded and then painted in trompe-l'oeil style so as to truly fool the eye. nusz sees this style as a metaphor for the illusory fulfillment as guaranteed by capitalism. these products promise happiness and pleasure but in reality lead to the opposite effect: consumption of marshmallows (they have zero nutritional value) contributes to the american obesity epidemic, one of the common artificial-butter flavorings in popcorn causes respiratory ailments, and - of course - modern cigarettes contain over five hundred additives (not to mention the over 4000 chemical compounds that are created by burning a cigarette).