Oxymoron encompasses the role of opposites: to begin with, the paintings are displayed in two separate rooms that vary in tone. The first room offers us the typical features of a white-walled gallery space, with a dense shelving unit storing a curated collection of books and other oddities. To the right, we find Vegan, or rather an almost savage angry vegan, whose flamboyant fur seems to counteract the ‘good fight’ and dismantle the 21st culinary and lifestyle cause. As do those ferocious claws that seem more pertinent for tearing apart meat than the bowl of docile tofu and asparagus.
The phallic nature of the dripping wet asparagus in Vegan allows for a smooth transition to the three-tiered Divorce Cake, where Epp, working from memories of his own relationship split, portrays a marriage in its death throes via a tongue-in-cheek chocolate delight. There are certain visual connotations within this piece that suggest a reference to Baumbach’s Oscar-tipped Marriage Story, which represents the divorce as an equalizer that turns all of those involved into versions of themselves they didn’t expect to become.
The vigorous brown shitty smears on the wall offer an explosive portrayal of slapstick anger and despair. Caught in the storm of a laugh-out-loud, cry-out-loud separation, the baker (whose behaviour indicates that she could well be the prospective ex-wife) sneaks into the kitchen, only to be caught gloriously devouring her own creation. If anything, this pursuance of instant pleasure rather highlights the complex emotional warfare between the couple and offers a compassionate depiction of human fallibility.
This sense of humour and absurdity is further highlighted in Evol Love, where two intertwined Venus flytraps are crazily giggling each other. A spotted cucumber beetle, also known to transmit viruses to plants, is crawling up one of the interlaced stems. The perspective gets close, and we see them extend their tongues towards one another in ways that words fail to describe. Following the outline of the harmonically entwined stems, a heart silhouette starts to reveal itself. Epp puns on the word ‘Evol’, which is ‘love’ spelled backwards, to highlight on the bittersweet challenges of this entangled romance: the plant's common name alludes to Venus, the Roman goddess of love, yet these bulb-like beings fail to share intimate affection as their mechanism is programmed to instantly confine and consume any insect that falls between them.