Objects of daily use often become intimately important and indispensable to people. Aside from their utility, such objects can be seen as representations of their owners or even extensions of the self. This kind of sentiment applies to a wide range of possible possessions including the seemingly humble and utilitarian plate. In At Your Service ten artists come together to encourage the viewer to consider and question the significance and wider implications of this common household item.
“Our lives circle the plate. Like clockwork we turn to it when we are hungry, enjoying the way it complements our food with its color, patterning, and design. It facilitates everyday utopian moments, highlighting the labors of production that build each meal. Though food is one of the first descriptions of culture, it is the plate that holds it all. It seems strange then that the common plate is rarely examined for its broader social and cultural significance. While it is true that it provides a utilitarian support for the food we eat, adorns walls as decoration, and commemorates events and places, it also behaves as sites for cultural reflection. In At Your Service, curators Niki Johnson and Amelia Toelke have brought their own works together with the works of Ariel Brice, Gésine Hackenberg, Molly Hatch, Giselle Hicks, Garth Johnson, Sue Johnson, Emily Loehle, and Caroline Slotte in an effort to encourage conversation about these objects. The plate’s inherent relationships to kitsch, commemoration, decoration, and adornment are both celebrated and made suspect by the works on display. “Our hope is that the wide scope of work in this exhibition provides an experience that encourages viewers to incorporate their own stories and experiences. Though the exhibition focuses on the plate, it ultimately fosters a dialogue about the inherent qualities of everyday objects and the impact they have on our daily lives.”
At Your Service will be on view at the Bellevue Arts Museum from February 14th thru September 21st, 2014