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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

domestic art

So, my background is in art history and American studies with an emphasis on domestic culture and architecture. Can you imagine how in love I am with these paintings?  Holly Farrell is a self taught (!) artist who started painting at 28 years old.


Her nearly photo realistic paintings are both portraits and an archeological record of the domestic and mundane. By elevating common household objects into high art, she encourages the viewer to look closer at her environment and the things that occupy it.

The chipped mixing bowl, that is thoughtlessly grabbed and used a few times a week, becomes a relic of sustenance and care given.


The couch remembers all that has past between people while on its cushions.

Barbie is both a toy and perhaps the embodiment of certain ambitions and/or barriers of the women who might be just outside the picture plane.

I love how Farrell's work encourages me to think about the material culture in my own home and the homes of my past. Our connections to the objects in our lives are strong and real. I have heard that the elderly are more likely to decline when they are moved from long term homes into nursing homes because there are so many disconnections from material objects that it is overwhelming. The butter dish, the silverware, the can opener, the broom.... all these things connect us to our reality in powerful and physical ways that deserve to be considered.

I would like to document some of the objects of my life through photography and writing as an exercise in attention and thoughtfulness.  How about you? What would you document?

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