What does it mean to go see an art exhibition in someone’s home? To see an installation in a living room or a sculpture in a basement? And, what if that home was empty? Transitional, the one-night only group show at Sixty-Six Twelve Art Space explores these and many other themes as five artists exhibit sculptures and installations at the former home of curator Elissa Yukiko Weichbrodt (the home goes on the market in March).
The actual spaces of any home are highly coded and culturally significant. Domesticity speaks to a whole history of gender relations, sexuality, child-rearing, cooking, and care of the self. In addition to exploring the nuances of the intimate spaces of the home, the theme of transition also relates to the geography and the history of the house itself. Weichbrodt, also a PhD candidate at Washington University, explained in an email that, “The word ‘transitional’ seemed appropriate for several reasons. Geographically, it’s located near the tripoint of University City, St. Louis City, and Wellston and as such reflects a degree of racial and class diversity. In terms of urban development, it seems to be perpetually on the cusp of gentrification. And while it’s quite literally a piece of historic St. Louis — it was built in 1906 with detritus from the dismantled 1904 World’s Fair — it has served as a point of transition for newcomers to the city, like us.”
Both floors and the basement of the home will be utilized by the artists, whose pairings and connections with the rooms, said Weichbrodt, “developed very organically.” John Early, who received his MFA from Washington University in 2010, has transformed a former, common, domestic item into a lit sculptural piece in a bedroom and also exhibits in the basement. Installation artist Carlie Trosclair was drawn to the narrow space of the steep stairwell, continuing her artistic interest and amazingly keen ability to create an environment, often through fabric, where one can not help but be aware of their own body and its place in it (AAN wrote about Trosclair here). Tuan Nguyen is exhibiting a trophy series, whose “playful, whimsical quality” Weichbrodt found to work well in the built-in shelves of her son’s former (oddly designed) bedroom. Luke Herron’s installation is in the dining room but aptly takes advantage a mirror and the view through the window and the contrast of an empty lot with the vastness of the sky. Marie Bannerot McInerney works with used furniture and household goods in the living room to present her sculptural work.
The home itself is a transitional space, where families and have moved in and out of for over 100 years. But the theme goes deeper than that – specific rooms, what they mean and how they are used by each of the families that have lived here are constantly evolving. The artists who have taken on this idea of transforming and adapting the space of a home will surely have work that speaks to the social and personal world of the domestic, the quirky features of older homes, and the ability of art to create entirely new environments.
Transitional is a one-night only exhibition on Saturday, February 18, 2012 from 6-9pm held at 6612 Chamberlain in University City, MO. Visit the Transitional Facebook Page for more information.