Saturday, October 25, 2008

Habitat, November 3- December 7, 2008

Opening Reception: Thursday, November 13th, 2008 7-9pm

The home as part of material culture is the very place where the intricate relations between architecture, objects, comfort, safety, and gender become visible. The exhibition Habitat investigates the multi-layered themes evoked by the interconnections between these terms. Sculptors; Angelo Arnold, Chris La Voie, Jackson Martin, and Sebastian Martorana, painters; Rachel Bone, Alyssa Dennis, Robert Sparrow Jones, and James Rieck, and photographer, Eddie Winter explore the relationship between the ideas of the domestic and their own artistic practice.

Through the comfortable format of furniture, Angelo Arnold presents concepts of metamorphosis, change and subversion. These metamorphic forms deconstruct the functional object to establish a foundation which recall's past memories, stories and uncanny events. Though his reconstructed objects reference a vocabulary of furniture, the removal of the functional aspects subverts the viewer’s expectations and provokes new interpretations. He employs the gallery as a platform in which to establish an imagined environment of familiar upholstered objects with an unfamiliar twist… he calls this work Familiarture.

Sculptor and multi-media artist, Christopher LaVoie deals with themes of domesticity, stasis, and movement, as he deconstructs and reconstructs familiar middleclass objects and furniture. He sees a correlation between re-imagining our material surroundings and re-imagining ourselves. This transformation often looks like everyday objects that have become activated, released from their boxes, their shelves, their stasis. His work re-fabricates the prefabricated, and gives it animated personality.

Just in case (family of three), is the second in a series of sculptures created by Jackson Martin for the sole purpose of satisfying his obsession with preparation. Recently, he and his wife became parents. With the arrival of their daughter a whole new set of worries and concerns have surfaced. Just in case serves to highlight this newfound anxiety and stands as an ominous and foreboding table, exhibiting daily, an apocalyptic future that might be just over the horizon.

Sebastian Martorana’s latest sculpture, Homeland Security Blanket, is carved from marble and depicts a small child wrapped in a blanket. It serves as a humanist, rather than political memorial, focusing on the sacrifice of others for the security of his loved ones and himself. He believes that the importance of a sense of personal security cannot be underestimated, but is often taken for granted and that perhaps the place where safety and security are most precious is the home.

The women in Rachel Bone's paintings are inspired by a range of people: from strangers in the street & public figures in the news to traditional folk heroines. Although the characters themselves are modest, conservative and domestic, they are often sent on unlikely adventures or put up to bizarre tasks. The lack of individuality or independence of the 50's housewife stereotype makes her an entertaining candidate for such adventures. These paintings are an illustrative reminder that there is little more heartbreaking than a person so confined to a personal world of order and practicality, that she doesn't recognize the beauty of nonsense when it surrounds her.

Influenced by her involvement in a number of sustainable building projects, Alyssa Dennis’ drawings explore architecture as it relates to human function. These images represent a level of disconnect by contrasting aspects of post-industrial architecture with natural building techniques. Alyssa currently works as a research assistant for a "green" architect and brings these experiences to her drawings as she "builds" them using natural materials such as ground pigment, graphite and colored pencil.

Robert Sparrow Jones's narrative vision is a combination of many sources including, landscape, upbringing, faith, family and friends. There is a deep relationship between natural form and human design and his propensity to include architecture within the landscape is a Thoreauvian attempt to coexist with nature. His places and structures hint at human complexity and contradiction and a bold history is revealed as one looks through the layers. Paralleling architecture Jones's loose transparent layers constantly move and pulse like the wealth of wonderful fields, lakes and rivers that are haunted by stories and imply a chance for magic and wonder in an otherwise mundane scene.

James Rieck paints within the language of consumer based advertisements and photographs. His work deals with the illusion of perfection generated through the utopian picture presented in fashion ads: artificial postures that, although seemingly benign, carry with them calculated agendas. Rieck's cool hand, acute cropping, and dramatic scale emphasize the simulated, generating psychological tension and demanding a re-evaluation of what's "real".

Eddie Winter’s photographs are images that encourage retrospective imagination. These images focus on ideas related to domesticity, challenges within memory, and the uncanny circumstances of the human condition. It is his goal to hold the viewer in a state of suspended reading, where he simply suggests the values of intimacy and explores the threshold of description.

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