Review: Joel Penkman - Food Art

Category: Academic, General, Speakers

The History of Art Society was thrilled to welcome the artist Joel Penkman to the College on Wednesday 4th October.

Joel is an accomplished artist who has for some years specialized in the depiction of food. Her work is highly sought after by major food suppliers and restaurants such as Waitrose, McDonald's and Eat, among others, and her work has been used on packaging, in magazines, and as advertising.  Apart from its bright and immediate appeal, Joel's images of biscuits, cakes, ice creams, tinned goods, etc., was of sharp interest to the College's art historians because of her preference of the medium of egg tempera. This venerable and technically demanding technique was the favoured medium of the early Renaissance painters of Italy, its use being eclipsed only by the advent of oil pigments in Italy in the late fifteenth century. It was fascinating to learn of the stages involved in preparing the pigment and size, and of priming of boards with gesso. Joel had kindly brought some of her work for the students to scrutinize, and they could see her painstaking fine execution at close hand. Also of great interest was Joel's role as a modern, commercial painter of still life, which ties in directly with the students' area of special study. Her words about making a living in this discipline of the twenty-first century were valuable and instructive. In all, it was a most cordial evening, and a real delight for us all to have Joel and her husband James with us.

Arabella Methuen (MO U6)

<- Back to: Academic