Katherine Sifers’: Access/Index, an exhibit that comes face to face with the socioeconomic inequalities in Washington DC, is composed of still life’s of the freshest produce available for $25 at local markets. The exhibit puts into focus the price and availability of fresh food in different parts of the city forcing the viewer to step back and contemplate food access in Washington DC.
The Anacostia Arts Center(AAC) is situated in a dilapidated neighborhood both literally and figuratively miles away from the clusters of art galleries that innocuously pervade throughout DC. The desolate location of this gallery makes it all the more important for AAC to showcase exhibits like Access/Index.
Far from the decadent opulence of Dutch seventeenth-century still life (vanitas) paintings that the artist is admittedly inspired by, these beautifully lit arrangements possess a quiet humility. The misshapen produce listed as coming from the Dupont Circle Farmers Market appears especially ordain, until contrasted with the produce from Wal-Mart. $25 accrued Sifers so little in groceries from the farmers market and yet the produce appears so much fresher when compared to the poor bounty of produce hauled from the Georgia Avenue Wal-Mart.
The Vivid Solutions Gallery itself is a calm space inside the bustle of the Anacostia Arts Center, a space that invites reflection and consideration. In this exhibit, Sifers’ works are displayed attractively on the walls with the use of overhead projectors. The dim lighting and streams of dust motes in the projector glow bewitches the visitor. The mechanism of projection creates an artificial distance between viewer and artwork until the viewer steps directly in front of the projector, shattering the image. A note of poetry must be noted having such vibrant images of food just within reach yet ultimately unattainable in the Anacostia neighborhood. The Access/Index Exhibition succeeds in forcing the viewer to step back and contemplate food access in Washington DC while remaining visually appealing in its own right.
By Emma Bilski