Home Work: Domestic Narratives in Contemporary Art
is an invitational exhibition curated by Edie Carpenter featuring 28 artists from around the state who each depict domestic life in their work. Organized into four thematic areas: Repose, Nourishment, Pastimes, and Chores, this exhibition will investigate artists' depictions of the everyday as explored in sculpture, installations, painting, printmaking, photography and artist books. A return to genre painting, which flourished during the Victorian "cult of domesticity" and was popularized in American art in the late 19th and early 20th century, will be explored in works by ten contemporary painters.
The home is seen as a happy family refuge in Jenny Zito-Payne's portrayals of childhood or Kristin Gibson's interiors. Cracks in an idealized version of home life are evident in paintings in which retreat has become a form of alienation as in Julia Clift's depiction of a young man lost in a sea of bedsheets or Alia El-Bermani's mother and child in arms standing in the red dirt before a suburban home under construction. The popular imagery of domestic accomplishment marketed in women's magazines hides a bite in Katherine Grossfeld's still lifes, in which a delectable cake conceals a lurking snake or a transparent children's toy resembles the structure of a virus. Toys take over in Janet Oliver's color drawings evoking the futuristic settings of video games. The omnipresence of technology in the home is treated in the series of works on paper by Barbara Schreiber of a young girl playing in a room in front of a television airing various world disasters and in Jack Stratton and Michael Ananian's paintings of interiors. Unorthodox domestic environments are presented in the furniture-based assemblage sculptures of Tracy Spencer-Stonestreet and Tom Shields who utilize shifts in scale and illogical joinery as metaphors for the lives that are lived with these interior objects. Works such as Spencer-Stonestreet's The Dinner Table (2011) and Travis Donovan's Molt (2010) speak to a strain of compulsive domesticity in which household objects take on a life of their own. Donovan will also be exhibiting photographs from his "exogeric" series in which social rituals such as a shared cup of coffee are defined in terms of thermal transfers between the participants. New views of the family unit are portrayed in Evan Brennan's photographic chronicle of his son and Sarah Martin's photographs of house pets and their owners.