Home Tour exibition explores home and identity

Albany Museum of Art Guest Curator Didi Dunphy discusses “These Thing (don’t just) Happen” by artist Jessica Wohl with AMA staff. Wohl is one of 12 artists whose work will be exhibited in “Home Tour: Artists Investigating Interiors, Domesticity and Identity.” The exhibition opens Oct. 18 in the Haley Gallery and continues through Feb 2, 2019. (Photo: Jim Hendricks/Albany Museum of Art)

ALBANY — Home Tour: Artists Investigating Interiors, Domesticity and Identity opens on Oct. 18 in the Haley Gallery at the Albany Museum of Art. The exhibition will continue through Feb. 2, 2019.

On Oct. 25, the AMA will host its Autumn Reception for Home Tour, the currently exhibiting Georgia Artists Guild of Albany 25th annual Juried Competition in the West Gallery and Brian Dettmer: Selective Collective Memories, which opens Oct 25, in the East Gallery. The reception is 5-7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

Guest Curator Didi Dunphy says the imagery in Home Tour will reach gallery viewers at many different levels. She noted that home, place and house are areas where individuals attempt to identify themselves and understand their origins, family and history. Interiors are designed to narrate the occupant’s intentions the way the individual is seen or wants to be seen.

“Home Tour is an exhibit featuring 12 different artists who investigate the nature of identity in the domestic arena,” Dunphy said. “Much of how we are perceived is expressed in our interior environments — what type of furniture we purchase, how we arrange our things, what things are our pride and joy and what things are disposable.”

She says the artists delve into the domestic environment in ways that are simultaneously “sugary sweet” and “sharply sour.” Beyond the inviting bright colors and warmth of the works in the exhibition are deeper issues and meanings.

“The show is very available in that it deals with a lot of beauty,” Dunphy said. “It is extremely colorful and, at first investigation, extremely happy and whimsical and joyful.

“However, given our particular political environment and the complexity of American life, there are opportunities in each of these artists’ works to dive in deeper, to look at their interpretation of how domestic bliss is expressed in all of its wealth, its faults and its rewards.”

AMA Executive Director Paula Williams said Home Tour is an example of Dunphy’s ability to bring to the Albany Museum of Art exhibitions that speak and appeal to different segments of the community and exhibitions that are politically and socially timely.

“Didi is doing a wonderful job of curating exhibitions that reach different populations,” Williams said. “As the exhibitions change during the course of the season, there may be shows that you like better than others, but you will find exhibitions that pique your interest — shows that touch you, move you, make you think, make you question and get you excited about what’s coming next to the galleries.“

The artists with works in the Home Tour exhibition are connected to Georgia either through their education or work. Many of the artists incorporate materials associated with home improvement, domestic labors in the home and the desire of perfecting interior settings. The artists also have a wide range of experience.

“When I curate an exhibit, particularly one of this scale, I do like to mix artists who are at different levels of their careers,” Dunphy said. “So, we might have a new MFA graduate who’s just launching their career next to someone who is well established in their professional career, represented in big cities by galleries and museum collections, or well into a career of being a professor in the arts.”

Mixing up experience levels is beneficial to all of the artists, she said.

“It makes for a way to elevate the younger people’s career — or the people who are just emerging into a career — by placing them with established artists,” Dunphy said. “On the other side, established artists remain fresh in the conversation when placed with people who are just launching and experimenting in their new careers.”

Artists with works in the Home Tour exhibition are:

— Paige Adair: Working in painting, watercolors and film/video, Adair, of Atlanta, deals with narrative, fairy tales, storytelling and fantasy. Her gouache paintings invite the viewer to get caught up in hidden fictional tales.

— Meg Aubrey: an Atlanta painter who is an assistant professor of art at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, Aubrey’s work deals with the façade of the suburbs and how a perfectly planned community has become the site of isolation.

— Justin Barker: A graduate teaching assistant at the University of Georgia where he earned his MFA, Barker examines the psychology of basic human interaction by creating toy-like sculptures and farcical tableaus that seek to disarm and actively engage the viewer through a sense of play and humor.

— April Childers: In her artwork, Childers strives to develop complex relationships by examining objects and imagery in popular culture, which she identifies from a distance in the role of a weary, outside observer.

— InKyoung Choi Chun: A UGA graduate, Choi Chun uses the frame of architecture to investigate the delight and comfort of the daily routine, setting a table, a meal or a stroll outdoors.

— Melissa Harshman: Teaching in the Printmaking and Book Arts Department at UGA since 1993, Harshman has exhibited widely throughout the U.S. and abroad. She investigates the domestic with the addition of sewn works in floral arrangements reminiscent of the armchair doily.

— Sara Hobbs: An Atlanta artist with an MFA from UGA, Hobbs’ photographs reveal beautifully obsessive interior arrangements insisting on sanitized abundance.

— Carol John: An Athens artist and designer, John’s love for pop and the ordinary object in the home results in a series of bright color geometry with images of a pitched roof or gable.

— Jessica Machacek: A Nebraska native who resides in Athens, Machacek’s objects circle around a wry critique of suburban desire marketed for middle-class America, using big box stores for inspiration.

— Sam Stabler: An Atlanta native who earned his MFA at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art and Design in London after receiving his BFA from UGA, Stabler, now based in Athens, appropriates Old Master works, lush oil paintings of interior tableaus and updates them to the contemporary setting through color and minute detail.

— Kaleena Stasiak: A visiting assistant professor in printmaking at the University of South Alabama, Stasiak, who has an MFA from UGA, exaggerates the elegance of the Southern mansion with over-scaled mantels, columns and ceiling ornaments, creating a whimsical retelling of Southern architecture.

— Jessica Wohl: A Minneapolis native with an MFA from UGA, Wohl mines the tradition of quilting in ways that evoke comfort, warmth, protection and loss. Her work explores the physical and psychological implications of relationships, policies and domestic artifacts on U.S. society’s obsession with — and definition of — the American Dream.

The Albany Museum of Art, located adjacent to Albany State University West Campus just off Gillionville Road, is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The AMA is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Tuesday through Friday and noon-5 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free.

For more information about the AMA please visit the website, www.albanymuseum.com or call (229)439.8400.

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