Brent Herrig’s photography explores culinary creativity

Spoons are essential to a chef’s arsenal.

Brent Herrig has found them essential to his photography as well.

The New York-based food photographer has crafted an entire project and photography exhibit around the mighty spoon and it is on display at the Pearson Lakes Art Center in Okoboji.

From now through Aug. 10 visitors will get a visual treat as they walk through the Weaver Lobby Gallery and McIlrath Landing Gallery and take in the compositions masterfully created by Herrig.

“When you walk into the lobby and see ‘Spoonfuls’ it’s such a clean, fresh look and take on photography exhibits,” said Danielle Clouse Gast, visual arts director at the art center. “It also ties in with what we’re doing here at the art center with our culinary programs like Luncheon with Instruction as we continue to grow and enhance those offerings.”

The exhibit begins with Herrig’s own spoonful of salt and quickly gets more elaborate from there.

Spoons of all shapes and sizes alongside various ingredients are crafted carefully then photographed and mounted on acrylic for a crisp appearance that is easy on the eye and visually arresting.

Don’t be surprised if your stomach growls a bit and you wonder when you had your last meal.

“When I was installing them all I wanted to do was go find a restaurant to eat at,” Clouse Gast said. “There is a kind of juicy feel to this subject matter and for myself as a painter when I saw the pieces in person for the first time I got caught up in their color and composition.”

As viewers delve a little deeper they’ll discover the reason each photograph has a distinct set of ingredients and a different spoon.

Herrig collaborated with individual chefs for each piece. These are their spoons and their stories told through the ingredients composed around the spoons.

“Each one has a little background and shows a glimpse of the person behind the spoon and why they chose those ingredients,” Clouse Gast said. “There are some very notable chefs represented here and a lot of them talk very endearingly about the spoon. One chef used the wooden spoon that once belonged to his grandmother.”

The thoughtful and insightful stories add another dimension to the exhibit and may inspire another lap around the galleries to check out those ingredients a little closer.