Sunday, June 29, 2008

Everybodies Kitchen

Tom Marshman’s work celebrates the domestic, frequently utilising everyday objects to explore what is often taken for granted. Interested in how memory affects consciousness, Tom’s practice is research based and process lead. His new trilogy Everyone’s companion to life and Love offers three new works which magnify parochial experience, in order for the artist to reflect larger universal themes. Everybody’s Kitchen [the third part] investigates the emotional investment we place in the things we eat. What feelings are evoked? Where do they take you? Tom Marshman offers you a lick the spoon.

A land flowing with milk and honey – Exodus

Tom Marshman serves himself up on a bed of cutlery. This is the beginning of a generous ritual of sharing in which Marshman oscillates between dinner party host and priest of the table.
There is a fulsome ambiguity to Marshman’s presence: educator in the finer points of the digestive system; immersed sensual consumer; and our representative as he swallows ‘the prawn that poisons you’, an act which is the gateway of the performance, the gear change to something modestly mythic. In the row in front of me, younger members of the audience were shivering with the giggles, testimony that they had been lured into uncertain sweet and sour space.
Tit bits are paraded; poignancy, regret and allergy are cooked up. The opportunity for the knickerbocker glory is gone now. We are nibbling in the ’salad bar of broken dreams’ Crushed Nice biscuits are transformed into a desert of disappointment. Marshman waits, the lonely shaman, for his microwave to ping, and then ends with a glorious conjuring of the twin pillars of wisdom as, with whisk and kettle, he makes two columns of flour rise to the theatre’s roof - a fabulous climax to an accessible and hospitable ritual.
Phil Smith

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