CHOCOLATE AS (BITTERSWEET) ARTMar. 14, 2012
What happens when a pair of hard-core abstract painters team up to produce a chocolate bar? You get one of our favorite things -- a painter’s idea of a sculpture -- not to mention a tangy surprise for the taste buds. West Coast artists Jeremy Gilbert-Rolfe and Rebecca Norton, recently seen in New York at their collaborative exhibition at Alexander Grey Associates, have joined with the chocolatier known as Snake & Butterfly to produce an unconventional bar containing no less than 350 grams of chocolate, variously flavored in different sections by chili, sea salt, ginger, smoked almond and more.
Dubbed Awkward x 3 Eye and Mind Chocolates, the concoction is packaged in a custom box decorated with a reproduction of one of the duo’s collaborative abstractions, a kind of skewed and energized grid whose color palate goes from pastels to earth tones. The bar itself is scored into four irregular sections, a design that echoes the abstraction on the package cover. But most interesting of all, this is a chocolate bar that comes with a statement.
The chocolates, write Norton and Gilbert-Rolfe, “are our attempt to poke fun at the 100-year-old fable about painting that dismisses the ‘retinal’ as mere eye candy. We think Marcel Duchamp’s idea is silly, that things are more complicated than that, and to drive the point home have named our chocolates after Maurice Merleau-Ponty’s much better theory about the connection between involuntary sensations and the mind.” Eating chocolates, the artists go on to say, makes one think through pleasure rather than ideas, leaving one refreshed and with a new approach to seriousness -- an effect not unlike that of looking at their paintings. The chocolate bar can be had via mail order for $60.