From Jan. 25-31, eight artists in the Center for the Arts’ (CFA) ‘Food for Thought’ exhibit depicted their own visions of the perfect college meal; capturing how food means something different for everyone while retaining its universal sense of comfort.
The artists’ individual collections of monotype prints take on unique shapes, ranging from crosses to spirals. The color schemes are splashed with almost every shade ranging from deep, crimson red to bright, vivid pink.
Surprisingly, for a showcase all about food, the actual meals featured in the monotype prints barely stand out. The layers of colors almost obscure the main focus as they bleed into each other. Other objects — including a pack of cards, QR codes and words — take up limited space and often draw attention away from the food itself.
However, to the artists, it’s not the food that is meaningful; rather, it’s the events, places and people that the food is connected to.
Marianne Goorbaran, a senior majoring in the fine arts with a concentration in painting, draws from her Guyanese background as she “dissects dhal [a South Asian lentil stew dish] into its beginning form” to pay homage to one of her favorite cultural dishes. The abstract earthy hues of brown, green and yellow picture the process of making the soup.
“Everyone has their quintessential meal, it looks different for each person, but that’s what reminds them of home,” Goorbaran said.
Dessi Furber, a sophomore majoring in studio art, intended to focus on something more specific. Their “sugar heist” display is centered around them sneaking food out of college events as a child. The prints are connected in a long chain, picturing a story of stealing valuable, sugary desserts.
“I tried to keep it bright and fun and childish,” Furber said. “Even though I felt like I was doing something sneaky, the stakes weren’t that high at all. It’s just fun.”
Sometimes, the classic college dish doesn’t have to exist. This rings true for Gardner Astalos, who focused on an uncommon, refreshing drink of a Coke with a slice of lemon in it. In his collection, typical features of a room — clocks, window seats, etc. — capture the warm feeling of home and belonging.
“I wanted it to represent more of like a space or memory instead of an actual, specific meal,” Astalos, a sophomore majoring in the fine arts with a concentration in print media, said. “It’s more about the times I spend with my friends and the people I care about.”
The best college meal is not exactly the most delicious one. It’s instead a key ingredient of an experience worth cherishing.
Mylien Lai is an arts desk editor and can be reached at email@example.com.
Mylien Lai is an assistant arts editor at The Spectrum. Outside of getting lost in Buffalo, she enjoys practicing the piano and being a bean plant mom. She can be found at @my_my_my_myliennnn on Instagram.