Mary Ellen Johnson's paintings are a syrupy drip of hyper-reality

Date
11 May 2012
Reading Time
1 minute read

Observe, reader, the hyper-realistic inscrutability of Mary Ellen Johnson’s paintings. Her vast canvases study a panoply of culinary delights; cakes, sundaes, splits (“death food” I heard someone mutter), all depicted at the apogee of their desirability. They will never look as good or taste as good at any other moment, ever. Just so this clumsy reference to the ephemerality of youth and beauty doesn’t go un-flogged, I’ll continue: The gleaming perfection of hot fudge sauce turns all other food stuffs to dust – peerless eclair! Immaculate banana! These are unattainable, fetishistic almost, portraits that reflect with all sincerity on our weird emotional attachment to food beyond just being hungry. For Johnson, the “cherry on top” is not just a metaphor.

Above

Mary Ellen Johnson: Big Banana Split, 2011

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Mary Ellen Johnson: Sticky Bun, 2011

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Mary Ellen Johnson: Big Smores, 2010

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About the Author

Bryony Quinn

Bryony was It’s Nice That’s first ever intern and worked her way up to assistant online editor before moving on to pursue other interests in the summer of 2012.

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