- Luke Whittaker
Artists: Natalie Conway, Michael Ezzell, Aaron Feltman, Billy Frolov, Lia Kang, Jacob Salzer, and Judd Schiffman
If the “white cube” gallery functions as the pristine and depersonalized environment for art to present itself, then how do intimate spaces of comfort, familiarity, and privacy change the relationship between viewer and artwork? Biomes explores situations where paintings, sculptures, and drawings exist beyond the walls of the studio and gallery and how that, in turn, does or does not influence an artist’s conception of their work. The resulting exhibition emerged from conversations between the artists and curator, examining how artistic practices are sustained and how artists independently advocate for their work without institutional or gallery support.
The featured artists openly discuss the complications of selling their work through routes alternative to traditional gallery representation and contemplate the settings of and relationships to their sold work. Biomes offers a glimpse into the dynamics, engagements, and encounters that art has in domestic spaces. It considers the differing iterations, availability, and affordability of artwork, and how pieces converse with furniture, light fixtures, wallpaper, kitchen countertops, bed frames, toy chests, and toilets.
Biomes includes the works of emerging artists and those established in their local communities, who experiment with the boundaries of material limitations, trouble the historical hierarchy of artistic mediums, and question the challenges of maintaining an artistic practice. Built on the relationship between artist and curator, the exhibition dives into the participants’ personal histories and considers how US-based artists, as independent agents, sustain a fulfilling practice over a lifetime with shifting institutional support. Each artwork’s method of display builds on that individual artist’s distinct experience, portraying snapshots of their challenges, desires, and fears as well as the complexities of creating art that leaves the studio. Biomes attempts to foreground these subjects by pairing artworks with domestic objects, chosen by the artists, that emulate how art is positioned in a home.
The exhibition asks: In what ways does art find company among the objects that populate the categorized rooms of a house—living room, kitchen, bathroom, attic, hallway, porch, basement, den, garage, and dining room? These constructed environments not only explore the visual suggestions of narrative but contain the faint traces of each artist’s relationship to the singular artworks that comprise their practice.