Rachel Epp Buller (USA, Kansas)
The Food Landscape (2007/8)
Food based screen prints (in 10 hand-bound books)
The Food Landscape is a conceptual project that visually narrates the end of my breastfeeding journey. Based on a food log that documented everything my youngest child ate, from the time she started solids at 9 months until the time she weaned at 17 months, the silkscreens employ her foods as the actual inks to chart her gradually changing nutritional intake.
Prints from the early months show little evidence of the food, when she had just started to eat, while the later months reflect the increasing percentage of solids in her diet. Bound into books by month, the nearly 300 prints function variously as an aesthetic record, a critical inquiry, an illumination of domestic roles, and a symbolic beginning as well as an ending.
The Food Landscape also signaled a kind of artistic rebirth for me. Having entirely given up studio work for nearly 10 years during my graduate studies in art history and during the very early childhood years, the birth of my third and final child spurred me back to work to find again some semblance of my own, separate identity. My prints and artist books since that time have explored topics such as maternal identity and the generational passing on of cultural knowledge that happens in families. Becoming a mother jumpstarted my art historical writing and curating as well.
Rachel Epp Buller has published widely on the topic of the maternal body in contemporary art, including Reconciling Art and Mothering (Ashgate, 2012). She curated Mothers for WomanMade Gallery in Chicago in 2010, and works with her regional chapter of The Feminist Art Project to curate group shows on maternal themes.