The Dark Side of Home
Curated by bkprojects / beth kantrowitz
February 23 – April 8, 2011
March 4, 6:00-8:00pm
Cushing–Martin Gallery, Stonehill College, Easton, MA
Consult the dictionary, and it will tell you, naturally enough, that home is "a place where one lives," "an environment offering security and happiness." Yet human experience demands a more nuanced definition. Intuitively we realize that a dwelling's outward appearance does not necessarily reflect what is happening inside. Who has not felt like the narrator of Lucinda Williams' song Side of the Road.
I just stood and looked out at the open space and a farmhouse out a ways
And I wondered about the people who lived in it
And I wondered if they were happy and content
Were there children and a man and a wife?
Did she love him and take her hair down at night?
Driving by a semi-lit house at night, glimpsing abandoned buildings from a train, even lusting after picture-perfect homes in architecture magazines, we can't help but wonder about the homes' inhabitants–past, present, and future–and their stories. Yet our imaginations inevitably drift to the dark side of home, envisioning the places we fear the most–loneliness, desolation, sadness, shame, perversion. Some even question their own homes, like the narrator in Steely Dan's Home at Last.
Well, the danger on the rocks is surely passed
Still I remain tied to the mast
Could it be that I have found my home at last?
Home at last
In this exhibition, six artists offer their explorations of The Dark Side of Home.
Kathleen O'Hara is intrigued by where and how people choose to live. Her current landscape paintings (based on Frederic Church's studies for his epic painting The Icebergs) portray middle-class subdivisions atop floating icebergs. For her subjects, O'Hara chooses raised ranches, split levels, and colonials, houses that can be found in every American city and town. In relocating these domestic icons to impossible locations, she prompts us to reconsider our understanding of what is normal.
Remi Thornton's work depicts populated locations at times when things are dark and quiet, transforming them into mysterious and brooding places. Given the right circumstances, even the most pleasant and nostalgic spot can seem odd or threatening. Thornton attempts to capture these paradoxical moments, in order to challenge our comfortable perceptions and sense of place.
David Curcio's work attempts to merge traditional printmaking with simpler, more direct methods of mark making to depict images that are both decorative and deeply personal. He describes himself as a great admirer of quilts and other domestic items created by self-taught artists. Themes of home, nesting, birth, and death permeate the work, engendering at once a universal appeal and an uneasy revulsion.
Judy Haberl cast houses from the Fisher-Price toy Play Family House, manufactured from 1969 to 1988. An idealized suburban dream house, the Play Family House invites children to imagine the perfect life, the perfect family. Considering the toy a Jungian archetype of the post-war suburban dream, Haberl recast them in hydrostone so that they hover somewhere between monument and ruin.
Millee Tibbs' work, The Terror Series, deals with the strange seduction of fear. The imagery is inspired by the moments between traumatic episodes in popular horror films of the 1980s, using them as a reflection on current conditions of terror in the socio-political landscape. The work explores how terror has become an integral part of our everyday experience and the way that, as in horror fiction, we are seduced and destabilized by it.
Douglas Weathersby collaborates closely with galleries, museums, and patrons to create site-specific installations that include a variety of cleaning and custodial services, e.g. rubbish removal, home repair, storage, construction. Weathersby will work with guest curator Beth Kantrowitz and Cushing-Martin Gallery Director Candice Smith Corby to transform the adjacent reading space from the expected "white cube" of a gallery into a domestic space, room-like in scale, with windows, chair rails, and furniture.