Peter Anton’s Sweet Revenge at UNIX gallery

Installation view of Peter Anton’s SWEET REVENGE at UNIX gallery.

There is no real world equivalent to Peter Anton’s luscious “Sugatarium” on view now at Unix gallery. 

The closest imaginable scenario would be a Willy Wonka fever dream combined with an enormous food fight. Entering the gallery, the visitor is confronted with a door jam torn asunder. Is this the work of patients driven mad by a taste for the sweeter things in life? Is this the unfortunate  result of a tart hurled through at high speed? There is no time to ponder – within moments, a gregarious clown scoops popcorn into your hands and a feast for the senses begins.

Installation view of Peter Anton’s SWEET REVENGE at UNIX gallery.

Peter Anton is no stranger to crafting surprising art experiences. His deft hand is apparent in the realistic stroke of food sculptures mounted to the gallery walls. No trace of artifice exists in these works: only saccharine sorcery. How do these sugary treats remain suspended before us? The artist cleverly implies both the joy and terror associated with our dependency on food, particularly sugar. In a time when average soda sizes are seven times the serving size in the mid-20th century, this emphasis on sugar spectacle draws heavily upon changing expectations of American junk food consumption.

Installation view of Peter Anton’s SWEET REVENGE at UNIX gallery.

Anton also considers the meaning of sweets as signifying childhood innocence. Visitors relapse to memories long past: friends’ birthday parties, school functions and other celebrations. Associations to this childlike longing for sweets, this dopamine-induced pleasure, persist throughout the gallery’s spaces. Actors sit astride beds which recall  patients’ quarters at sanitariums playing methodically with stacks of treats. The scene complicates our immediate reaction to sugar-laden snacks by forcing our consideration of the long-term effects of sugar consumption.  Over time, the substance builds in our body, demanding constant replenishment much as  Anton’s performers are consumed by their repetitive actions. 

Anton proves himself to be a keen observer and a cunning artist: from crafting claustrophobic spaces to installing shrines for our senses, Anton doesn’t shy away from the bitter – or the sweet.  

 

SUGATARIUM runs from April 27 – June 17, 2017. UNIX Gallery is located at 532 W. 24th Street, New York, NY 10011.

Installation view of Peter Anton’s SWEET REVENGE at UNIX gallery.
Audra Lambert

Audra Lambert

Audra Lambert is an arts writer and independent curator who has worked on interdisciplinary projects involving painting, performance, new media and installation art. Her recent curatorial projects have included The Subtle Image group figurative exhibit at Dejavu Gallery, Reflecting Our City for the White Roof Project at the Center for Social Innovation, and participating in the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts’ A Wicked Problem. In addition to these projects she has served as Project Coordinator for More Art, a socially engaged nonprofit based in NYC, and she has contributed to Art Nerd, Examiner, AXS, and WhiteHot Magazine, among others. With an anticipated 2016 M.A. in Art History, Modern & Contemporary Art from CCNY, her primary focus is on installation art and contemporary art in the public sphere.

6 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial