Art and food go hand-in-hand in many ways. Some top chefs have turned plates into canvases, while paintings have featured food in its various forms since the dawn of time. But Eve Smith and Case Dighero’s Sensory Iconoclasts Exhibition has united the two through a visual and culinary experience since its inception in 2013.

The event is held at Arts Center of the Ozarks, where Smith works as director of visual art. It pairs chefs and other notable people working in the food industry with local artists to play upon one another for inspiration and create related works of art in their respective fields. This year, the event flipped the script with its Transposed Collaborative Experience theme.

Dighero, the director of culinary programming and events at Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, said the general idea was to have the participants switch roles.

“This has been my favorite Sensory Iconoclasts project to date,” he said. “I loved the idea of forcing ourselves out of normal roles and comfort zones in order to create. I’m at my creative best when I’m uncomfortable and a little scared – and returning to the canvas (with Eve’s guidance) has been nothing short of exhilarating – it’s a little like falling in love.”

Sensory Iconoclasts 2017 participant pairings were Case Dighero + Eve Smith, Tammy Varney + Garrett Hunt, Emily Lawson + Kat Wilson, William Lyle + Autumn Brown, Darwin Beyer + Jason Suel, Kelli J. Zumwalt + Houston Hughes, Paula Jo Chitty Henry + Sara Segerlin, Jerrmy Gawthrop + Bryan Hembree and Shayla Christine Holder + Emily Smith.

A patron admires the collaboration of Eve Smith and Case Dighero, founders of Sensory Iconoclasts.

Segerlin, who teamed up with Chitty Henry, the founder of Bentonville’s Crepes Paulette, said, “When we teamed up five years ago to produce our cheeky little crepe/film project for the first Sensory Iconoclasts, it was the beginning of what has become a lasting friendship. Now, that friendship gets to inform and liberate our collaboration for the reunion. We can’t wait to see where that takes us.”

The result was a video installation that incorporated a video of Chitty Henry working her magic with a cutout for the video screen in the center of the table.

Smith made ribs and sauce while Dighero painted. Samples of her meal were given out during the reception on August 8. She was excited to take the reigns in the kitchen.

“Co-curating and participating in Sensory Iconoclasts over the years has really fueled a collaborative spirit within my career and artistry that was never there before,” she said. “I hope this year that the viewer will see both mine and Case’s hands in the culinary and artistic piece.”  

Sensory Iconoclasts will be open through Sept. 10. Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art will host a corresponding WOW dinner highlighting a dish created in the project while holding a panel of the participants on Aug. 23 from 6-7 p.m.

Tickets for WOW can be purchased here.

Photography by Julia Trupp