Trusting the Food Chain
By Helen Peyton

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Year
1997
Media
Printmaking
Subject Matter
Landscape
Reg. Number
P821
Size
69.5 x 59.3 cm

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Helen's print is intended, in the artist's own words, to represent "the effect of chemical farming upon the world. The print is built up of organic forms and plants, as is the world."

One can see that each major element of this print has been formed out of organic imagery. The background includes trees formed from broccoli arrayed across the hill, clouds made of lettuce leaves and a sun reminiscent of a cauliflower. The foreground consists of a wall of potatoes interrupted by a gate made of carrots and green beans, in front of trees formed from asparagus. The figure that has created the shadow looming ominously over the hill is invisible. This shadow represents a farmer, who the artist claims, represents the chemical presence: "without the farmer being present, his influence and the chemicals are still strongly noticed."

The piece demonstrates the bold, simple, clean shapes that can be achieved via print. The colour scheme, in keeping with the theme, is organic: blue-greens predominate, accompanied by browns and some orange and yellows for contrast. Yet the overall sense of colour is dark, which combined with the shadow lends the piece a sinister edge. The colours themselves are exaggerated, perhaps reflecting the artificial colourings of chemically altered food. Similarly, the exaggerated size of the vegetables parodies the extreme sizes possible with chemical farming.

Helen Peyton is a specialist in lino printing and photography and regularly displays her work in exhibits and galleries. She lives in Upper Wharfedale, in the Yorkshire Dales.

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