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From Liz Lemon to Bridget Jones to Miranda Hobbes, emotional eating is one of the most prevalent, and apparently resonant, of popular culture's female-centered tropes. We've all heard that Ben & Jerry's is the cure for heartbreak, and that pizza can make any stressful situation better. Of course, given the shame we place on women for eating things that "make them fat" (or even eating at all), this ubiquitous practice of eating-to-feel-better can morph into a secretive, destructive, almost compulsive relationship with food.
Thus forms the basis of artist Lee Price's work. From her studio in Beacon, New York, Price produces incredible, photo-realistic oil paintings "exploring food’s role as liberator, crutch, drug, and nourishment."
In Price's paintings, food serves as a symbol for the many distractions we create to keep ourselves from being conscious and present in our lives. "Much of my work looks at compulsivity," she explains. "The aerial view evokes the feeling of an out of body experience: The subject is watching herself engage in compulsive behavior but is unable to stop. There is an absurdity to the repetition of this act of compulsion. At the same time it is an attempt to find real nourishment."
Price carefully conceives and stages the scenes, which are shot from above by photographer Tom Moore. Each photo is then converted into a transparency and projected onto a canvas on the wall. Then, Price traces a rough outline of the composition and completes each painting without the projection.
With her own history of eating disorders, Price excels at expressing the incredibly fraught, frustrating connection so many of us have with food: "The women in my paintings are seeking a place of solace. They are looking for a reacquaintance with joy. They are searching for the lusciousness of life," Price says.
Click through to see a selection of Price's oil paintings (no, they're not photos). Fair warning: One of the images is just a bit NSFW.