Here’s the original “Cake” by Wayne Thiebaud:
And here’s a shot of the tile rendition of it on the Taste Area of the Five Senses Bench:
I’d say it is a fair copy-cake ape-a-tation. But only fair, if that is the only standard to judge it by. It is tentative, small, soft-edged and melty in comparison. Maybe an ice cream cake version. But to be fair in another way, it was never intended to be shown side-by-side with the original!
To the copy’s credit, the hues and relative values are actually quite impressive and almost give off the same luminosity, especially in the sunlight. That righthand yellow section could be a lot lighter and purer, but so?
Thank my artful goodness there are plenty of ways to judge copies beyond photographic resemblance. As an homage to food art and a terrific artist, it works great. (Just like the version of Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Can up on the back of the seat does.)
Plus, the medium of underglaze and the changes wrought by the ‘heat work’ of the kiln are enough to render whatever control this unknown artist exacted purdy near null and void. It is what it is. Part of ceramics is certainly surrendering to the will of the Kiln Gods. C’mon Happy Accident!
Knowing all of this, if we then start asking about flavors and sensations in the largest sense possible, we can easily see how much this tile embodies the Spirit of “Cake” and not just the Letter of it and take our satisfaction with that deep into our artistic bodies and minds, thereby affording a Greater than the Five Senses Experience, all from one little copy-cake.
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