snack chat by Martha Rich || I like it a lot by Martha Rich
10"x8" ($24) | 14"x11" ($60) | 20"x16" ($240) | 24"x20" ($600)
Martha Rich’s snack chat is unquestionably snackwave: it’s a salute to the saltiest, most processed, most disgustingly delicious snacks out there. It’s the id of our snack choices. And for a 90s kid, it not only brings up that childhood Doritos nostalgia, but also evokes the flat, surreal imagery of some of the weirder cartoons Nickelodeon came up with.
Then there’s I like it a lot. Chocolate cake is more than just a snack. It’s the snack. Not only is it tasty, but cutting into a rich chocolate layer cake means you’re celebrating something. Birthday? Anniversary? Baby shower? Or are you just celebrating you? And let's be real, chocolate cake is a reason to celebrate in and of itself. It’s happiness on a plate, and now it can be happiness on your wall.
Martha Rich’s work celebrates the snack. Snacks, for many, are nourishment as well as nostalgia. As children, we had snack time several times a day: between halves of a soccer game, to break up the doldrums of the elementary school morning, and in the afternoon just because. Snacks were both a prepackaged little treat and a way of bonding with other children.
As we aged, we gradually learned that snacks could, in fact, be bad for us. We were told we shouldn’t eat too much salt or too much sugar. There was such a thing as too many munchies for a given day. Sometime in the early aughts, the backlash against guilty snacking began. The Gilmore Girls, 30 Rock’s Liz Lemon, and several dozen popular Internet memes made it cool for adults to love snacks again. Tacos. Tots. Candy. Cookies. If it tastes good, eat it. Home alone on a Friday night with a whole pizza and your Netflix queue? That’s not a failure to plan, that’s what you’ve been looking forward to all week.
The beauty of being an adult is that no one can tell you what to do, and that sentiment seems to be behind much of Martha’s work. Of I like it a lot, Martha says, “I painted a cake because I like cake a lot”. It’s that simple, and that bold. "I spend a lot of time beating myself up for painting things I like,” Martha says. “I have painted a bunch of cakes already. Lately, though, I have been not caring much what other folks think and I know they aren't spending time contemplating why I paint so many cakes, so now I do as I please.” Martha doesn’t apologize for her artistic appetite—she embraces it. Would it be fair to call her a major player in a pro-snack revolution? We think so.
With art (and snacks!) for everyone,