Piece of Cake is an exhibition of new ceramic works by Elizabeth Jaeger. This is the artist's first presentation with Night Gallery and her first solo exhibition in Los Angeles.
In her new series of ceramic sculptures, Jaeger chronicles the arc of a heteronormative marriage in the form of a three-tiered wedding cake and cake slices. The bottom tier has been separated into five slices, while the top two remain intact with a topper. The topper, entitled i hate Men and Men hate me, is viewers’ first indication of marital bliss skewing off-course: an undressed man and woman are caught in a moment rife with awkwardness, rather than euphoria or contentment. Elsewhere, slices of cake depict various scenes from the married life of a pair of strawberries—humanoid figures living out the American dream, societal pressures notwithstanding.
As viewers move through Jaeger’s intimate chronology, the cake slices offer glances into the moments that comprise a shared (straight) life: a wedding, children, family road trips, a graduation. Yet there is an insidious tension built into each of Jaeger’s scenes, a mild sense of the dysfunction that exists within every nuclear family. Tinged with self-aware humor, each slice captures the emotional intricacies that are folded into the everyday.
Piece of Cake is love told slant; its sentiment complicates sentimentality. By representing the minor antagonisms and cultural expectations within traditional gender roles, Jaeger illuminates their absurdity without disavowing them altogether.
Elizabeth Jaeger (b. 1988, San Francisco, CA) lives and works in New York, NY. She has exhibited widely in the United States and internationally. Her solo exhibition Holes is on view through November 20, 2021 at Jack Hanley Gallery, New York, NY, and she recently presented an exhibition at Klemm’s, Berlin, DE. She has also participated in numerous group shows, most recently at Jeffrey Deitch, Los Angeles, CA, and the Sprengel Museum, Hannover, DE. Additionally, her work has been exhibited at the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; MoMA PS1, New York; SculptureCenter, Long Island City, NY; and the Aspen Art Museum, Aspen, CO. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including Vitamin C: Clay and Ceramics in Contemporary Art (Phaidon, 2017), Dream-ers Awake (White Cube, 2017), Eros C’Est La Vie (Totem, 2013), and How Other People See Me (Publication Studio, 2011).