Finding a home isn’t an easy task. Even if your well-connected, well-behaved, and well… creative.
For the past 2 months I have been relying on the kind hearts of my friends and colleagues while looking for a roof to put over my head. Among many of the things I have learned include the following:
- What you think you need – you don’t really need. Living out of a duffle bag isn’t luxurious but it can be more than sufficient.
- The things that you miss are the things most meaningful to you.
- It times of trouble, it’s somewhat humiliating to cash in your favors, but you should learn to receive help graciously.
- Standards are arbitrary.
- Home is more of a feeling than a place.
Ironically (or perhaps purposely) I recently went to see an inspiring exhibition at the Bedford Gallery called Home: Shelter and Habitat in Contemporary Art (on view through November 17th). Curated by the talented Carrie Lederer, the show touched on many complex ideas of space, place, and home.
Much of the work will strike different emotional cords for each viewer. For me, Gina Tuzzi’s mixed media sculptures of trucks piled high with tiny houses take me back to summers spent in the back of the camper shell while my parents drove up and down the California coast looking for the perfect campsite. I treasured the time alone to invent realities alternative to my steadfast suburban neighborhood.
Napa artist Stephen Whisler takes center stage in the show with his piece “Play House”. His pine box house-on-wheels is more about the transience of childhood and the scars left behind by traumatic change.
Being an obsessive observer, I also related to photographs by Todd Hido and Ari Salomon. Hido shoots foggy portraits of glowing houses at night. The voyeur element is infectious but the perspective leaves you feeling lonely and strangely jealous. While Ari’s interior shots give you an intimate look at the environment of a beloved aunt. Her belongings neatly categorized and stacked in her Paris apartment reveal her in way the artist could never express in words.
Other artists such as Elizabeth Cayne and Lee Materazzi address the fusion of person and possessions. Cayne greeted visitors to the gallery as the “Femme Maison” symbolizing our tendency to blur our sense of self with the things we own, while Materazzi used her new abode in San Francisco as a stage for self-discovery.
This exhibition is packed to the ceiling with clever concepts of safety, shelter, society, and self. I recommend spending at least a few hours taking in all of the superior work by more artists like Hannah Chalews, Lisa Solomon, Sasha Petrenko, Henry Wessel, Julie Alvarado, Megan Gorham, Eirik Johnson, and many others.
Visit Bedford Gallery’s website for more information.
P.S. I have found a great house and I am anxious to see how my art and life are changed by my new surroundings.