Home is a Name was created site-responsively at the Spartanburg Art Museum, September 29th, 2015 – January 14th, 2016.
Ideas of home and dislocation have always been compelling to me as the child of parents who arrived in the United States as refugees. Born in Latvia and Lithuania, my parents spent many years after the end of the Second World War in displaced-persons camps in Germany before they were allowed to emigrate to the United States. My family’s displacement is part of a long history of uprooted peoples for whom the idea of “home” is contingent, in flux, without permanent definition and undermined by political agendas beyond their control.
Complicated by my family history, my definition of home constantly oscillates between past and present. The “Egress” series grows out of an ongoing collaged photographic body of work titled “Migrants.” The “Migrants” collages begin with photographs I took in the three locations I have called home in the past eight years: the New York metro area, rural Pennsylvania, and Chicago. I cut and reassemble the images in sets of three, creating hybrid structures that reinterpret and reinvent architecture, disrupting space, light, and direction.
In the “Egress” series, I enlarged, cropped, or torqued the “Migrants” collages to create the compositions for the paintings. By reinterpreting the original collages as abstracted shapes and lines, the paintings move even further from the representational nature of photographs. Fragments of buildings now collide as purely geometric forms. Each painting begins with a steel serigraph print of a detail of one of the buildings. The paintings’ surfaces are repeatedly layered and sanded, creating weathered textures that mimic aging building materials: concrete, worn wood, and pavement. The building up and tearing away of the surfaces not only likens itself to the architectural constructions these paintings reference but also to memory itself, the constant reinterpretation of time, space and home. Like “Migrants,” the “Egress” series turns an analytical gaze on the architecture of my past and present while offering a personal reflection on the nature of home.