by Toni Wilkinson
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Pub Date 04 Apr 2023 | Archive Date 01 May 2023
Chatwin Books and T&G Publishing, Independent Book Publishers Association (IBPA), Members' Titles
If women aren’t held captive in the kitchen, they’re being guilted for eating too much, or too little, their body parts sexualized, commodified and packaged up, poised for consumption.
In Tough Pleasures, distinguished photographer Toni Wilkinson presents a series of domestic portraits which reinterpret the conflicted dynamics of femininity and food, playfully exploring provocative motifs of forbidden fruit, sexuality, religion and the absurd. Drawing on Wilkinson’s masterly skill in portraiture, Tough Pleasures takes audiences on a suburban food odyssey – encountering women carefully cradling an apple or balancing an entire lobster on their laps.
The children featured in this series depicts Wilkinson’s awareness that complicated relationships with food start early.
Some portraits rebel against unrealistic beauty standards, while others signal the use of food in maintaining cultural heritage. Through diverse images, Wilkinson conjures powerful stories.
Wilkinson’s rich visual language is carefully unraveled in an essay by Susan Bright, an Australian/British curator. With incredible sensitivity, Bright unearths the deeper cultural meanings behind the imagery, from phallic undertones to embracing “too muchness” as a feminist stance. As she puts it, “pictures of food are never just about food”.
A moving feast of womanhood, food and identity, Tough Pleasures is at once current and timeless, intimate and freeing, leaping elegantly from pathos to humor, and proving that women can have their cake and eat it too.
A Note From the Publisher
Contributor: Susan Bright