The frosting upon Wayne Thiebaud’s 1963 painting, Cakes, is so thickly applied that I am often tempted to reach out, run my finger along one of the perfect cake-tops to taste the sugary dessert. Thiebaud cleverly uses a thick application of paint to mimic the look and texture of frosting, highlighting the idea of ‘object transference’ where the paint literally assumes the appearance of the element it is depicting. His work from the 60s focused on mass culture was characterised by heavy, colourful pigment and solid outlines placed upon stark backgrounds. The balanced and symmetric arrangement of the cakes suggests a counter display at a patisserie and invites the viewer to visually consume the sweet confections.
Wayne Thiebaud, Cakes, 1963
oil on canvas, 152.4 x 182.9 cm, National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C.