It was not until the last few decades that the majority of the world’s population began living in urban areas. The number today remains at only 56%.1 Thus, for hundreds of thousands of years and the overwhelming majority of our existence, Homo sapiens has associated a flower, tree or hillside with home more than a building, street or neighborhood. Landscapes serve as the backdrop to our shared, ultimate home, nature.
While landscape art has an ancient tradition spanning cultures and millennia, it was not until the nineteenth century that the subject accelerated in prominence and popularity. The work of William Turner, the Naturalists and eventually Monet and the Impressionists sparked this renewed interest while also kicking off the modern art revolution. It was not a coincidence that this spike occurred during a time of rapid industrialization and an increased sense of alienation from nature.
In modern and contemporary art the diversity of naturalist depictions continued. Examples include Grace Hertlein’s natural plotted work, the Realist solitary trees of Sylvia Plimack Mangold, the Post-Pop landscapes of David Hockney and the monumental New Romanticism of Anselm Kiefer. Regardless of medium or style, we appear to possess a universal urge to connect with nature through its varied representations.
As insurmountable societal forces push us further from nature, innate desires to remain attached only strengthen in our continuously digitizing world.
At the same time, the body is also our natural home, the place where our consciousness resides as well as our connection to the outside world, a condition we share with many of our animal cousins. We have also long been drawn to these corporeal depictions as some of the oldest cave paintings from Indonesia to France portray human and animal forms.
Our memories are our home as well. They shape our very identity and provide a portal to worlds that may no longer even be accessible through time and space.
Nature (the home of every living being), the body (the home of our consciousness) and memories (the home of our identities) were my inspirations for feels like home. This exhibition presents these varying interpretations of home, interpretations that challenge conceptions of home yet are universally relatable beyond culture, language and time.
As you browse, we invite you to consider what home means to every living thing, what home means to you personally and what home has meant throughout the ages. Art gives us the opportunity to consider, express and reflect on these different conceptions of home.
By sharing this exhibition with you, I’m inviting you into my own surroundings, consciousness and memories, my own home. This gallery is then a direct reflection of home for me, yet it is universal and belongs to us all. Welcome to our shared home.