For centuries pigs have symbolized vice, gluttony, greed and shameless squalor. The term swine specifically denotes domesticated pigs raised for commercial meat production. With an estimated population and slaughter rate exceeding one billion annually, pigs are one of the most prevalent mammals and meat sources on the globe. Intrigued by this complex duality of being both the consumer and the consumed, Swine explores pigs as metaphors for mass consumption. Anchoring the exhibition are five large paintings of commercially decapitated pig heads dressed in disposable dollar store items. These realistically rendered satirical social portraits attempt to reveal the idiocy and egocentricity of the androgynous white consumer. Collective Guilt, comprised of close to 80 plastic pig masks addresses issues of factory farming, individualism and culpability, while as Greedy as a Pig plays on the concept of “saving” as both financial and emancipatory.
Similar to electricity, capitalism is an invisible system that mobilizes every facet of modern civilization. If every purchase is a vote, we as consumers have unanimously elected individual whims over global sustainability. Every day we consciously and continuously contribute to the decay of our planet by consuming non-essential, frivolous, single serving shit. Coffee creamers, bendable straws, plastic bags, chewing gum, bottled water, gift wrap, cotton balls, computer paper, mustard packets, rubber gloves, air fresheners, disposable forks, paper towels, individually wrapped plastic forks. Ultimately, Swine is an acknowledgement of guilt and melancholy that ensues. It is the realization that my personal legacy will not be the art I make, but the garbage I generate and the resources I knowingly deplete.
— Elizabeth Buset, Artist
Elizabeth Buset is an artist and educator from Thunder Bay. Majoring in printmaking she completed her Honours Bachelors of Fine Arts from Lakehead University in 2009. In 2010 she transitioned into painting; creating realistic, large scale, oil on canvas works that re-contextualize mundane objects through juxtaposition, enlargement and compositional isolation. She was awarded an International Humanitarian Scholarship through Rotary International and completed her Masters of Fine Arts at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture in Helsinki, Finland in 2013. In 2015 she accepted a Contract Lecturer position at Lakehead University for Introductory and Intermediate Printmaking. She is a Board Member at Definitely Superior Artist Run Center and Mentor Artist for Die Active, a 600+ youth art collective specializing in street art. She is also an Artist Representative on the Public Art Committee for the City of Thunder Bay and recently received an OAC grant to run a printmaking program for youth clients at The Canadian Mental Health’s First Place Clinic.
Elizabeth Buset acknowledges the generous support from