Frontispace is pleased to announce an exhibition of work by Mizin Shin, How Things Are Consumed.
Fried, baked, steamed, mashed, smashed, or boiled. One of the most popular crops worldwide, the spud is arguably the root of human nourishment. Just about 50% of vegetables consumed in the US are potatoes and tomatoes—familiar pair?
How Things are Consumed depicts the interdependency of societal systems by taking the economic and industrial ecologies surrounding the manufacturing and distribution of food products—such as French fries—as an example. The value of food is in constant change through social phenomena, most notably affected by dining environments such as restaurants and fast food chains. Rate of consumption and ability to nourish does not always build direct economic value. However, depending on how it is distributed and experienced by the consumer, food may be valued as high end, fancy, fine-dining, or as budget, junk, cheap. The distribution and consumption environments largely impose economic value, with the food itself contributing very little to perceived value. Subsidiary elements of dining, such as drive-in versus sit-down, influence consumption practices worldwide. We pay $2.98 for fries at a fast food joint, and $8.00 for the same potatoes and oil at a fine dining restaurant. How does the commercialization of food distribution and consumption practices influence our perception and judgment of the value of foods?
Using French fries as an example, the work leads viewers through two different ways potatoes are regularly consumed and questions perceived differences in value along the way. The underlying connections to other processes cannot be ignored when it comes to the final presentation and consumption of the food. What we pay for is a lot more than just what’s on our plates—or in our paper boxes.
Born and raised in South Korea, Mizin Shin graduated from Hong-ik University with a BFA in Printmaking and received her MFA from the University at Buffalo. She is currently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Art & Art History at the University of Rochester. Shin’s work has been shown regionally and at institutions across the United States. She was awarded the 2017 Graduate Student Fellowship from the Southern Graphics Council International, as well as the juror’s award at 45th Annual National Exhibition of Works on Paper. She is a co-founder of Mirabo Press in Buffalo and currently serves as vice president of the Print Club of Rochester. https://www.mizinshin.com/