This work of mine is called Sunset, though any sense of peacefulness that it conveys is ironic. I think I’ve made it obvious that the even rows of roast beef are a satirical comment on the 1931 Iowa Cow War. By referencing the unrest of the past, I comment on the uncertainty of our own times. In this way, the meat speaks to us all in a sort of bovine anthem: “We are all mad cows.” The sandwich creates a constant tension between diametrical opposites: animal vs. vegetable, chewy vs. crisp, savory vs. sweet.
I haven’t worked extensively in roast beef—I’m more experienced in turkey and ham—but recently I’ve learned a great deal experimenting in this new medium. I’ve been trying to push myself with new textures and colors. I love the way the meat has a sort of iridescence that dances across its surface like the dusk-red sun atop the stippled sea. But the most interesting thing about beef is that this glittering quality can also recall the fireworks of battle or the glint in a vengeful lover’s eye. A single slice of beef can contain worlds.
What I’m doing with green peppers represents a departure from previous treatments. Rather than deliberately placing them on the meat, I let the latex-gloved hand of fate take control as I scatter the chopped capsicum across the folded beef. I try to maintain a delicate(ssen) balance between elements of order and chaos. My work explores that middle ground where human will and cosmic destiny collide.
My work represents the struggle between animalistic instinct and high reason. The nine-grain wheat bread you see recalls the nine mythological muses, paragons of human creativity and intellect. The yeast, integral in my artistic process, illustrates the rise and dominance of man. He covers and masks his animal core, but my work makes visible the inescapable human dichotomy between doughy brain and sliced-protein gut.