Peggy Taylor Reid  

In Crash and Burn I am drawn to the volatile and consumptive nature of fire, extreme cold and the fragility of glass. This series pivots on the central image of the Mason jar, which is captured at turn encased in ice crystals, smoldering, shattering or spinning to the point of abstraction.

Traditionally used to preserve food (providing nourishment in times of scarcity), the Mason jar’s role as a vessel extends beyond the mundane and into myth.  Recent translations of the story of Pandora’s box refer not to a box, but to a jar: succumbing to her curiosity, Pandora opens the jar and unleashes all the evils of the world. With the world facing a crisis of sustainability—a global imbalance of overabundance and famine, which polarizes the political arena—I feel that today is the perfect time to revisit Pandora’s myth, and to expand the poetic space of the Mason jar to question the industrialized economy of food.

While food itself is not visually present in the work, the smoke and off-gassing of dry ice point toward other methods of food preservation. In earlier work I took photos looking down into the spinning jars creating a sense of loss of control.  It is a visual response to the loss of self-reliance, supplanted in a culture of convenience by chemical preservatives and synthetically produced fertilizers. The Mason jar connects to my thoughts and concerns around the changes in food production and consumption.

Throughout history gathering and preserving were a way to create a continuum for the consumption of food; they were a safety net.Preservation offers up a visual token of uncertainty. As Michael Mikulak writes in The Politics of the Pantry, “the risks relating to food are entangled on a number of scales, and respond to many seen and unseen forces. From food security, and individual hunger to systems of unequal development...”