Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Artist Offers Food for Thought

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Artist Offers Food for Thought

Article excerpt

SCULPTOR/JEWELER Thomas Mann offers food for thought at his show of the same name currently at the Nancy Sachs Gallery.

Mann, a member of New Orleans Artists Against Hunger, has plenty to say on the subject of world hunger, both through his work and in person.

His statement is not subtle. A wall-mounted series of black-and-white photos transferred to Plexiglas is displayed over maps. The photos show people in Cambodia, Somalia, Bosnia and the United States; in the center of each frame hangs a slightly different small sculpture: a spoon wrapped in barbed wire, a cornucopia turned into a dagger. The center of each form is filled with the subsistence food of the culture it represents - millet, corn, or milk powder, for instance.

And each carries a message etched into the metal: "You Can Never Be Too Rich Or Too Thin" takes on new meaning.

"The Future Is Not Set. There Is No Fate But What We Make" (Mann took this from a Terminator film, he says).

"Food Is Not A Weapon," says another small sculpture.

He makes his message clearer still in the comments that begin and end his photo series:

"There are more people alive on the planet than have ever died."

"In our world of abundance, hunger is an unnecessary evil."

"What Can I Do?" he asks in a final message posted on the wall. Among his suggestions are: Reduce your beef consumption by 50 percent. Work with students and teachers to do the same. Eat lower on the food chain.

"I reread `Diet for a Small Planet' and decided it's time to do something," says Mann, who was involved in food and political issues in the late 1960s and throughout the '70s. Part of the proceeds of this exhibition will go to the St. Louis Area Food Bank.

Mann's larger sculptures evolved from his smaller-scale work. They take on the same rocket-like shapes. Each becomes a metal projectile suspended from the ceiling. …

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