Beginning June 29, the Woskob Family Gallery in downtown State College will be offering a different idea of what composes a “home.” Running through Aug. 12, the exhibition “Home Economics” will showcase the talents of 10 artists and their takes on the myriad ways a home is defined.
“After a studio visit with Danielle Mužina, whose work is featured in this exhibition, we discussed how her art explores tensions and instabilities in the domestic realm,” said curator Haley Finnegan. “I began thinking about the various ways people understand the concept of ‘home’ and its connotations of belonging. Consequently, I knew that I wanted to curate an exhibition centered around these issues.
“The exhibition includes playful representations of familiar items, disconcerting distortions of the familiar, and total abstractions,” Finnegan continued. “Ultimately, the interpretation of the works is entirely subjective. Viewers bring their own experiences to the pieces, and this colors their emotional response.”
Featuring two- and three-dimensional pieces, the diversity of both the artistic mediums on display and their creators purposely provides a wide-ranging collection of what a home can mean to an individual. This shared approach ensures that no two pieces, and no two stories, are alike.
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“The inclusion of artists of various backgrounds working in a range of mediums was a very intentional choice,” Finnegan said. “Since the show is fundamentally about the complexities around defining ‘home,’ I wanted to include as many perspectives as possible while creating a cohesive exhibition. I want to underscore how the seemingly universal idea of ‘home’ can be interpreted in a multitude of ways frequently determined by personal, political and societal factors.
“The pieces included in ‘Home Economics’ tell personal stories about the artists and also engage with broader narratives about ‘home.’ ”
Perhaps the most exciting aspect about “Home Economics” is the way that the artists are able to apply their creativity to turn a rather mundane household item into something completely different and new. It is the sort of approach that filmmaker David Lynch has perfected, where something as common as a lawn sprinkler takes on a whole different — and often sinister — meaning.
“Much of the imagery in the exhibition is familiar — home furnishings, houses and even bedsheets — however, these items are variously used as stand-ins for their owners, sites for experimentation and reinvention and even representations of larger social issues,” Finnegan said.
For example, artist Kim Beck takes an ordinary household object, the doormat, and turns it into a conversation piece, Finnegan said.
“The presence of a doormat implies you have a home, or at least that you have a door that you can mark as your own,” she said. “However, by replacing the standard ‘Welcome’ with greetings like ‘Mine’ and ‘Yours,’ Beck asks the viewer to confront the idea of ownership and its relationship to home.”
While “Home Economics” raises plenty of thoughtful questions, the different pieces are all connected through the idea of inclusivity. Visitors are encouraged to draw their own conclusions and appreciate a new addition to what the idea of what a “home” actually is.
“I hope the exhibition sparks a conversation about what it means to belong,” Finnegan said. “I want people to reflect on what home means to them and think about the alternative meanings it may have for someone else. However, the exhibition is still meant to be accessible. While being conceptual and dealing with serious issues, much of the work is still fun and playful. I hope people enjoy seeing some awesome work by some very talented artists.”
IF YOU GO
- What: “Home Economics”
- When: June 29-Aug. 12
- Where: Woskob Family Gallery, 146 S. Allen St., State College
- Info: woskobfamilygallery.psu.edu