Common wisdom has it that you should not go to the supermarket on an empty stomach. Perhaps the same holds true for an exhibition that opens Thursday at the Concord Art Association, "Consuming Passion: Food as Metaphor in Art," which features works by 13 area artists.
The results vary widely, with sculpted fruits and vegetables, photographs of food, paintings of people working in their kitchens, and even structures made of food.
"Throughout the centuries, artists have been attracted to food as a subject and often used it metaphorically. Water represented sustenance of life, pomegranates for hope and eternal life; and the still lifes of the Dutch masters, so gloriously overflowing with fruit, game, fish and fowl, symbolized the abundance of Holland's thriving economy in the 17th century," said Deborah Plunkett, a cocurator of the exhibition and a Concord Art Association staff member.
According to CAA exhibition committee member Merill Comeau, part of the inspiration for the show came from the organization's surroundings.
"Here in Concord, we are in the midst of an agricultural area which has quite a bounty at this time of year," she said. "So we came up with this idea for an exhibition around food. What struck us as we curated it is that artists in general reflect some element of our shared human experience; and some artists do that through their relationship to food. It can really reflect both a personal interest and a larger human theme. After all, we all eat."
Hannah Perrine Mode, one of the artists represented in the exhibition, observed: "Food is something that fuels us and connects us — both to each other and to the natural world. By portraying intimate moments in everyday life, my work uses the idea of food as metaphor to explore the human spirit. As a universal life force, food is something that everyone may relate to."
Among the more jarring works in the show are those by Elizabeth Kostojohn, who created drawings of fruit, often being bisected by sharp tools.
"I'm looking at the metaphorical role of food in the still life genre and pushing it to be about more contemporary issues," Kostojohn said. "The soft-fleshed pear and the domestic tool are common objects, but I have engaged them in an uncommon way. This change in the innocuous and often prosaic still life explores conflict and injury, instead of a fertile and sumptuous ideal."
The Concord Art Association has planned various food-related activities in conjunction with the exhibition, including a Feast for the Senses party Oct. 27 from 6 to 9 p.m. that will feature culinary treats created by Ben Elliott of Saltbox Farm, along with jazz and a silent auction (tickets $60); and a talk by chef, author, and TV personality Sara Moulton at 2 p.m. Nov. 18, the show's final day.
The display opens Thursday with a public reception from 6 to 8 p.m. The association offers free admission to its gallery at 37 Lexington Road in Concord. For more information on the exhibition or the related events, call 978-369-2578 or go to www.concordart.org.
FAMILY COMEDY: Enter Stage Left Theatre presents "Over the River and Through the Woods," a comedy that explores the generation gap in an Italian-American family, two weekends at the Hopkinton Historical Society, 168 Hayden Rowe St. in Hopkinton.
The performances Friday and Saturday, as well as Oct. 26 and 27, are at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday matinees are at 2 p.m. both weekends. Tickets are $17, or $13 for students, seniors and members.
For tickets and more information, go to www.hopartscenter.org.
LAUGHS FROM DOGHOUSE: The Berlin Theatre Company presents the comedy "Men Are Dogs" at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday and again the following weekend at 1870 Town Hall, 12 Woodward Ave. in Berlin.
Tickets for the benefit, with proceeds going to the town's historical meeting house, are $15, or $13 for seniors and students, and are available by calling 978-838-7308, e-mailing email@example.com, or at the door. For details, visit www.berlin1870townhall.org.
DANCING WITH A WITCH: The ballet troupe Dance Prism kicks off Halloween with an original adaptation of "Hansel & Gretel" on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. at the Curtis School, 22 Pratt's Mill Road, Sudbury.
Children may meet characters at a free Gingerbread Party following the performance. Tickets, $18 for children and seniors, $24 for adults, are available at www.danceprism.com or by calling 978-371-1038.
STRINGS AND PIANO: On Sunday at 3:30 p.m., the regional LiveARTS organization opens its 10th season in Franklin with a performance by the LiveARTS String Quartet featuring Philadelphia-based pianist Cynthia Raim.
The local ensemble, which includes two members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, will perform Anton Dvorak's Piano Quintet in A major with Raim, as well as string quartets by Donizetti and Brahms. First Universalist Society in Franklin's meetinghouse, 262 Chestnut St.
The general admission tickets are $18, or $12 for seniors and ages 13 to 19, $7 for music students, and free for ages 12 and younger. For more information, call 508-520-9238 or go to www.liveartsfranklin.org.
STORIES FOR ADULTS: The First Parish Church of Groton hosts an evening of adult story-telling Saturday starting at 7 p.m., with participants sharing tales in a coffeehouse-style setting.
The suggested donation is $7; snacks will be available at the church on Powderhouse Road in Groton Center. Some stories may not be appropriate for children. For more information, contact Carol Bousquet at 978-835-8134.
OPEN STUDIOS: The eighth annual Acton Open Studios will be held from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
The event will feature 23 artists working in media from painting to ceramics to photography to textiles, and displays at 15 studios. Admission is free. For more information go to www.actonopenstudios.org.
ALL ABOUT FENWAY: Richard Johnson, author and curator of the Boston Sports Museum, will talk about the history of Fenway Park at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Spellman Museum of Stamps & Postal History in Weston.
Johnson's book, "Field of our Fathers: An Illustrated History of Fenway Park,'' includes images of many nostalgic items along with firsthand accounts of many baseball and nonbaseball events.
The museum is located on the grounds of Regis College at 235 Wellesley St. in Weston. Call 781-768-8367 or go to www.spellman.org.
LOCAL WATERCOLORS: The Brookline Arts Center will open "Town and City," an exhibition of watercolors and limited-edition prints by Gerald Shertzer, with a reception Friday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at 86 Monmouth St.
The show will continue through Nov. 19. Call 617-566-5715 or go to www.brooklineartscenter.com.