ShellieZhang_NeopolitanDreams



Neapolitan Dreams, 2015
Left to right: #292, #222, #3303, #232, #403
Acrylic, egg, and cardboard on wood
16 x 20”

In the early 1950s, Betty Crocker Foods introduced instant cake-mix, which simplified baking to a simple step of just adding water. Initially the product did not sell and researchers discovered that although the average American housewife appreciated the convenience, she felt immense guilt at deceiving others into thinking she had laboured to product the cake. Their solution was to add an egg, which carries the maternal connotation of life and birth to make the creation of the cake more meaningful, while allowing the housewife to mitigate her guilt and maintain the guise of a dedicated and devoted, nurturer. In the centre of each painting is an egg. Likewise, the use of eggs in this series marks the fragility of feminine ideals while observing the simultaneous seduction.

Drawing inspiration from Byron Kim’s Synecdoche and Fred Wilson’s Cleopatra, Neapolitan Dreams exploits the notion of “flesh tone” as a colour and deconstructs the process of seeking an ideal skin tone, eschewing the idea of a single shade as neutral.