See the Light through the Postmodern Food Paintings of Janet Fish

Sometimes, art that features food isn’t necessarily about the food itself. In the postmodern realist paintings of Janet Fish, food is certainly present. However, over a career spanning four decades, her still lives focus primarily on the ways light, color, and shape intermingle.

As a child, Janet Fish lived on the island of Bermuda. Perhaps the sunny days spent by pink sandy beaches and turquoise seas influenced the look of her vivid studies on reflection and light. Still lives sometimes get a reputation for being stagnant. Yet, her explorations of sunshine interacting with glass and plastic feel playful. Usually, her postmodern food paintings are described as ‘realist’. However, her images retain a sense of magic that goes beyond what the eye can see.
Janet Fish realism food, Janet Fish postmodern food illustration, food fine arts icons, iconic food still life paintings, realism food painting, postmodern food illustrator, food fine arts inspiration, food creative inspiration, influential food artist, pop art food art Janet Fish, postmodern food art
“Herb Tea” © Janet Fish 1995 . Fish’s postmodern food paintings cast ordinary objects in a unique, whimsical light. Image courtesy of yigruzeltil via WikiArt .
Food photographers and stylists should take notes. Fish’s specialty is making the most innocuous subject matter seem enticing and exciting. Unassuming glasses of water become vessels that refract and scramble light waves. A row of store-bought salad dressing can be a colorful feast for the eyes. 
 
Janet Fish realism food, Janet Fish postmodern food illustration, food fine arts icons, iconic food still life paintings, realism food painting, postmodern food illustrator, food fine arts inspiration, food creative inspiration, influential food artist, pop art food art Janet Fish, postmodern food art
“Kraft Salad Dressing”  © Janet Fish 1973. Image courtesy of yigruzeltil via WikiArt.
While store bought salad dressing may not seem like the most interesting material, one could argue that the subject of Fish’s work aren’t the condiments themselves. Rather, her focus is on the color and light that these objects cast.
 
In the tradition of old masters, many of her still lives feature food and drink. But that’s where her observance of the old ways of doing things ends. Tight compositions are filled to the brim with detail. Even “negative” spaces contain the opaque shadows of stained glass and the folds of translucent wrappings.
 
Yet, the pieces she focuses on aren’t the exotic treasures or valuable imports that many still lives focus on. Instead, her postmodern food paintings find beauty in the things lying around in her home. Forgotten at flea markets and aisles of grocers hold everything she necessary for her works.
Janet Fish realism food, Janet Fish postmodern food illustration, food fine arts icons, iconic food still life paintings, realism food painting, postmodern food illustrator, food fine arts inspiration, food creative inspiration, influential food artist, pop art food art Janet Fish, postmodern food art
“Four Glasses” © Janet Fish 1974. Image courtesy of yigruzeltil via WikiArt.
 Quite often, art is a conduit to sell something. We work long hours in studios, finessing food to convince others to consume and invest. However, Janet Fish’s postmodern food paintings offer artists a refreshing reminder. Packaged food ingredients and products can be a thing of beauty outside of its market value or taste. A peach wrapped in cellophane casing can be as beautiful as one growing in a picturesque orchard – if you’re willing to look at the subject and forget the context surrounding it. Sometimes, it’s worthwhile to step away from profit margins and simply observe the rich array of hues and forms that make up our everyday world
 
Janet Fish realism food, Janet Fish postmodern food illustration, food fine arts icons, iconic food still life paintings, realism food painting, postmodern food illustrator, food fine arts inspiration, food creative inspiration, influential food artist, pop art food art Janet Fish, postmodern food art
“Peaches”  © Janet Fish 1971. These peaches may not be GMO-free organic variety you’d find at your local farmers maket, but they’re beautiful nonetheless. Image courtesy of yigruzeltil via WikiArt.
Influential Food Artist of the Week

Through our influential food artist segment, we aim to highlight fascinating stories and works that defy norms and challenge audiences on what food can mean to us. Are you tired with flashy passing trends and seeking true creative inspiration? From classical painters and modern innovators, Phoode explores what happens when food collides with artistic minds. CLICK ON