With 9 other artists, I learned traditional wood carving with local Venda artists in a spectacular setting in the Soutpansberg, near the northern border of South Africa. The days were spent under the trees, tapping out small figures from wood with chisels and hammers surrounded by a primordial landscape with wild creatures on the edge of our camp (and sometimes in the camp).
I spent a week in Orange County–Santa Ana to be more precise–in a workshop with 18 other artists in a store-front art studio, exploring the theme of Domestic Departures. The workshop was an offshoot of an exhibition of the same title at Cal State Fullerton, with artwork focusing on the domestic experience.
The theme, from my point of view, was wide open to interpretation. Does domestic mean the home or the home land? Does it merely imply acts and roles associated with the home or the structure itself? Is a departure a starting point, is it the separation from the normal or is it about leaving something behind?
Because of this ambiguity, there were many interpretations of the theme in the work made by the participating artists–some focusing on home and familial suffering, others exploring the objects that constitute a domestic experience. Materials used include human hair, American flags and found objects, while some artists focused on conceptual expression with actions taken outside the studio, engaging passersby.
I explored “departure” as a final act–an abandonment of the domestic existence for something else. I worked with images of maps, female wrestlers and recipes, while gathering samples and specimens of domestic expression using the language of science.