Looking & Longing

ROOM 1 — Surfaces

Left: Shrine to ‘your’ memory, William Hughes – Right: Unintentional Shrine No. 3, Laurie Nouchka

Top Left: Laundry Room Art, Melissa Staiger – Top Right: Gathering 1, Karen Levitov
Bottom Left: Placement II, Jeannine Bardo – Bottom Right: Unintentional Shrine No. 2, Laurie Nouchka

Left: Untitled, Caitlin Griffiths – Right: Untitled, Caitlin Griffiths

In Room 1 we see a series of images using classic gallery exhibition tools, such as shelves, plinths and flat surfaces, with which to display items. The artworks, frames, objects and trinkets are entangled with domestic iconography, such as house plants and radiators, making us hyper aware of the domestic setting — rather than that of a gallery — and how they each resemble part of the artist, as Nouchka reflects, “I recognise how easy it is to just walk past these every day, to get used to your space and the things within it. I reflect and notice how they’ve all taken a part in shaping bits of me. I am them, they are me.

It is this idea that the objects represent our personalities, as well as the use of the space they are in, that really link these works. They represent the owners as well as take on their own personalities the longer we sit with these images, we begin to see relationships and visual links between the objects on each surface. “The images I am presenting are a group of collected art works that found themselves placed in my kitchen until I found a suitable place to hang them. Instead they ended up having a conversation with each other that really pleased me and I am loathe to remove them from this intimate setting because if they end up on a wall they won’t be able to share the space with the stones and the shells and the leaf and any other objects I put with them.” Bardo here exploring how objects can communicate with one another, and in turn when presented here for us to then also converse with. There is a universalism to this way of display in the domestic space, we all have a surface in our homes decorated with objects we hold dear or make us feel happy.

Through the photographs we are invited to engage with these personal spaces as an archive of the photographer, and we co-worship at these created alters. If these pieces were seen in a different context, would they have the same aura of the familiar and so well represent the personalities of their owners? Levitov’s work explores this, “[this course] made me consider various spaces of my home through various lenses. I arranged a collection of objects in two spaces to see how the differences in where and how they are placed alters the meanings and perceptions of the objects.”

But the works here are for sharing, for being observed, they are personal objects positioned in the public spaces of a private abode. Specifically with Melissa Staiger’s work, “This work is for the building — I wanted to create an oasis in the desert colors. Lush bright color pops of metallics and fluorescent pinks. Greens and blues to give some fresh cool color. The shapes are reminiscent of a hanging garden something luxurious and pleasing like a beautiful flower arrangement without any structure. This cork board has been hanging over the laundry room folding table since I moved in 2004 and it never had anything on it! I decided to install my work on paper with clear pushpins as a celebration that someone actually used it.”

Room 1 invites us to look at the surfaces in our own homes, how we display and stack objects, each image here bearing an uncanny resemblance to our own domestic surfaces.