Californian artist Sage Vaughn returns to Lazarides Rathbone with a new solo exhibition, Nobody’s Home.
Featuring the birds and butterflies with which his work has come to be synonymous, the artist’s focus on wildlife is transformed into fresh settings, both material and metaphorical.
Vaughn explores the physical and abstract associations of the phrase Nobody’s Home through an examination of stale interiors and the vacancy with which society unquestioningly consumes objects and occasions of mass appeal. Beautifully executed birds permeate the lackluster domiciles dictated by interior designers and home and lifestyle magazines as the ultimate domestic dream, packaged for sale en masse as the height of ‘tasteful’ urban living. A coffee table and pile of books sit clinically where the birds, unknowingly interrupt the viewer’s expectation, bringing vibrant life and colour to their staid habitats. The artist critiques this neatly juxtaposed domestic bliss through the pity of his uninhibited flock:
I’ve used the same settings for the birds as I do when they are on a piece of barbwire... I feel the effect is almost the same, yet there’s another layer. They’re still in the city, but now they're in places we hope to afford.
Vaughn’s butterflies highlight the allegorical connotation of the phrase ‘nobody’s home’. Flitting across faces in a crowd blankly staring into space or at their handheld devices, these creatures— ancient cultural symbols of freedom and transformation—breath new life into such environs, highlighting the absence of mind with which people move through life ignorant to the most stunning walks of life. Nobody’s Home challenges viewers to break free from routine acceptance of our domestic and public surroundings and drink in the vivacity the beauty of nature has to offer in this lifetime.