'' Amy Stevens ''
The Confections series began as a response to turning 30. It was a celebration of birthdays, color, pattern and obsessive absurdity. My original idea was to bake 30 birthday cakes for myself and photograph them. I didn’t quite make it to 30 cakes in time for my first show, but I sure got a lot of ideas from those first cakes. I ordered a kit from Martha Stewart.com and watched an instructional video on decorating cakes. When I quickly discovered my cakes were never going to look like the ones in the video and the pamphlet, I decided they were better off in their exuberantly imperfect states.
Cakes are the centerpieces of celebrations and symbolic trophies evoking nostalgia and awe. Historically, cake has played a significant role in women’s lives. Women have used cake as both an outlet of creativity and a symbol of female power politics. The woman who made the best cake held a certain power over the other women in the community, according to Sherrie Inness in Cooking Lessons: The Politics of Gender and Food.
In the ever-evolving constructions of these images over the past six years, I am commenting on cake as a rich cultural symbol as well as the domestic fantasy world of contemporary home decorating magazines and television shows. It’s a fantasy world where entertaining, cooking and decorating unite. It’s a place where one needs to have a beautiful home, decorated seasonally, in order to entertain friends with gourmet meals and elaborately concocted desserts.
My email subscription to Martha Stewart Craft of the Day has inspired much of the background props in the newer Confections (adorned) series. Most everything in these backgrounds are also handmade, with the exception of found antiques and fabric.
Amy Stevens grew up in the American Southwest. She earned a BFA in Photography and a certificate in Women’s Studies from Arizona State University and a MFA in Photography from Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia. Stevens has participated in group and solo shows in Seattle, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Boston, Los Angeles, Chicago, Montreal, Toronto and Ireland. Stevens has notably shown in the Philadelphia Museum of Art, Delaware Art Museum, Photo LA, Photographic Center Northwest, Philadelphia International Airport, Maryland Art Place, The Center for Photography at Woodstock and Jen Bekman Gallery. Stevens recently completed an artist residency program in Ireland where she worked in a bakery, resulting in a new series of work, a group show and a publication. Editions of the Confections series can be purchased through Eye Buy Art and 20×200. She lives in Reading, PA with her tabby cats, her partner, and a corgi named Talula.