Peas in Queues

This is part of our special feature on Food, Food Systems, and Agriculture.

It’s probably not often that you’ve looked at your sunny side eggs and considered them a piece of art. What about your backyard squash? Tjalf Sparnaay’s oil paintings highlight “the beauty of the contemporary commonplace” while David Hicks draws his inspiration from the beauty of farm lands and nature surrounding his home. Both artists help us see agricultural produce and food in new light, yet they also further our critical thinking. One cannot help but notice the freshness of Sparnaay’s salad bowl or lobster, for instance, which – as one critic has put it – “look so delicious you’ll be famished by the time you finish viewing” them. Arranged with Hicks’ work, which is inspired by the agricultural world and its cycles, the viewer also becomes engaged in the politics of food: local and sustainable farming versus processed and genetically modified mass production. Are you going for the deep-fried croquette or Mother Nature’s offerings? The choice lies with the viewer/consumer. As Hicks himself has pointed out, the agricultural world and the human condition grow out of the same struggle: fertilization, growth and decay. Decay or death is part of the cycle, but our nutrition can prolong life.

–Nicole Shea for EuropeNow


Tjalf Sparnaay

De Kreeft

Gebakken Ei


Broodie gezond in papieren zak



Each of the paintings shown above are available in a Certified Art Giclée limited edition. The Certified Art Giclée conforms to the most stringent standards for art reproduction and is guaranteed to be colour-fast for life thanks to the use of special inks and a UV-resistent coating. Each Giclée is printed on Museum Hahnemuhle 310 gramms paper with Archival pigment inks in an edition of 50 copies, numbered and signed and comes with an embossed seal and a certificate that guarantees quality and authenticity.

Tjalf Spanraay lives and works in the Dutch town of Hilversum but spends a lot of his time in the United States. Sparnaay is a self-taught painter. He has been working on his impressive oeuvre of paintings and artworks since 1987, constantly seeking new images that have never been painted before.


David Hicks



Construction (bloom field), 2016, 28 x 62 x 13, Glazed Terra Cotta & Steel

Clipping (green vessel), 2017, 7 x 7 x 7, Glazed Terra Cotta

Clipping (pink), 2017, 4 x 6 x 5.5, Glazed Terra Cotta

Container (flower and branch), 2017, 15 x 21 x 17, Glazed Terra Cotta


I am drawn to the forms and processes that inform my surrounding landscape. Regrettably, I find myself looking at nature from a distance, separated through an abnormal mechanism that keeps me physically disconnected but visually immersed. Confined in my vehicle I commute through the California agricultural heartland, experiencing the landscape locked behind auto glass. My predicament is a byproduct of a life filled with constant movement and the artificial landscape of steel and concrete I work within. This current body of work reflects a growing response to my personal detachment from the natural world. Obsessing upon the missing elements I’m segregated from, I engage natural forms to fill a personal void. The fruits of my fixation are the presented clippings and forms that make up Clippings and Hard Fruit. Manifested from the truth of my surroundings, generated by my need for the organic, Clippings and Hard Fruit is a response to my environmental quagmire.

David Hicks creates ceramic art works inspired by nature. Individual organic forms are assembled together by thin wire aggregating dozens of disparate parts into singular large sculptures. Hicks is a graduate from the well-regarded ceramics program at California State University, Long Beach and received his MFA from New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Alfred, New York. Recent exhibitions include Nucleus, Cross Mackenzie Gallery, Washington DC; Material Collaborations, Mindy Solomon Gallery, Miami, FL; Goodwin Fine Art, Denver, CO; and MUCK, Curated by Peter Held, Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ. His work is included in numerous private and public collections including the St. Petersburg Museum of Art, the US Embassy Art Collection, Washington, DC, and the American Museum of Ceramic Art. David Hicks is represented by Mindy Solomon Gallery in Miami, FL as well as by Edward Cella Art and Architecture in Los Angeles, CA.

Nicole Shea ran CenterArts Gallery in Newburgh from 2009-2012 and later incorporated her arts experience into the leadership training at West Point. In 2015, she founded a large-scale sculpture walk outside the gates of West Point, which she has been curating together with the founding members of Collaborative Concepts in a community effort to revitalize the area via the arts. She is also Executive Editor of EuropeNow and Director of the Council for European Studies.

Published on September 5, 2018.


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