Feast for the Eye

Joan Steiner has created a series of children’s picture books, entitled Look-Alikes, based on her observations that some objects look like others. Each book consists of about 10 illustrations intended as puzzles; readers are invited to enumerate the substitutions of look-alikes for their real counterparts. A barn, for instance, is a green metal toolbox and its silo is an aerosol can with toy train tracks as its ladder. The high incidence of food and food-related items in her work flaunts our expected purpose for and context of edibles. Steiner’s inventiveness is reminiscent of the Italian mannerist painter Arcimboldo whose portraits also employ food substitutions.

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