On the homefront
Lauren Gidwitz, Spencer Lai, Sam Shoemaker
organized by Esme Thompson-Turcotte
August 27–September 2, 2018
Reception: Monday August 27: 6–9pm
On the Homefront is an exhibition which grapples with the relationship between person and setting through the work of Lauren Gidwitz, Spencer Lai, and Sam Shoemaker. The work's strong visual kinship across different mediums and color palettes is forged through the continuity within each piece. Despite the disparity in color pallets and mediums in the works because of consistency and monochromatism present in each. Figures are established through texture and shape but are very much embedded and married to their surroundings. The motif of environments is established by lack of separation between the figures and the scenes they inhabit, attempting to delineate the accord between character and setting.
Lauren Gidwitz started using rope after her step mother, who had crafted family portraits from the material, died. She reappropriated the medium of creation from something vital to her home life, literally and figuratively. A family portrait is inherently domestic in its personal connection between people and space and place and time, Gidwitz’s pieces abstracted and distorted from their ancestral inspiration, yet tied to their origins in that they too depict scenes of home and family life. Gidwitz utilizes a myriad of construction materials to realize her pieces such as cardboard, amberized archival glue, drop cloth, and balsa wood, all part of a consistent color profile, yet diverse in texture. Though the graphic prints and range of tones in the pieces are present, the figures are reliably tied to their immediate surroundings, rarely standing out from the space they occupy. The materials too are familiar, domestic and economical, none out of place in a home.
Spencer’s trio of figurative compositions are rendered in magenta, royal blue, and burnt orange through layered pieces of cut felt. They each depict a distinct interaction and environment. Said figures are unequivocal in character yet wholly immersed in their environment given the singularity of materials Lai uses. Much like Gidwitz, the figures are distinguished from their background through shape rather than color. Lai creates scenes filled with motion and movement, the lines formed from the gaps between shapes, no negative space allowed given the tessellations and layering of felt.
Sam Shoemakers sculptural piece is carved from a single piece of plywood and coated in iridescent paint, the pattern carved from a digitally rendered drawing. Figures are difficult to make out, as an apparatus of sorts is apparent along the sides, which the figures depicted grip to as they hang through an indistinct foreground and background. The enigmatic nature of the space is furthered by the uniformity of the materials, the lines which form the figures all overlap and are monochromatic. The figures, glaringly different in composition, some appearing inhuman though they are all cartoonish, blend into one another despite their differences in form and genre.