Model Home is an installation of staged domestic space using heavyweight drawing paper to create everything from furniture and light switches to electrical outlets, rugs, picture frames and baseboards. Every piece is the same color, off-white. The overwhelming amount of this color from floor to ceiling creates a sense of sterility, conformity, blankness, a clean or erased slate. The model home is a reference and a metaphor for the American ideal, the perfect domestic space marketed specifically for status, an unattainable goal for many. Rooted in a strong foundation in traditional drawing, this work expands the definition of drawing beyond the two-dimensional picture plane and into three-dimensional space, where the space functions as image rather than reality, much like the model home. Both the installation and model homes are staged to appeal to many; a space onto which one can project their desires. The “American Dream” of getting married, owning your own home and having 2.5 children and a dog becomes a failed promise due to economic insecurities. This installation embodies this empty promise.
The installation simultaneously creates an illusion of comfort, an impulse to sit and make oneself at home, and a sense of not belonging and dysfunction. Paper suggests fragility, impermanence and vulnerability, referencing the lower quality housing that is built for speed and cost - not longevity. Labor is important in the work - both in the making of the work and also as a mirror to the repetitive labor one does in the home - decorating, cleaning, cooking, mending and repairing. This completely white space draws attention to the impossibility of keeping domestic spaces clean. The investment in labor in the home becomes a signifier of value, and that value becomes a representation of status. Model Home attempts domestic perfection. This attempt at verisimilitude is futile and somewhat antagonistic.
John and June Allcott Gallery, Chapel Hill, NC-March 2018
Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC- April-May 2018
Sulfur Studios, Savannah, GA, November 2018
Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC, February 3rd-May 5th