Garver Gallery presents a new installation by Jennifer Bastian and Luisa Garcia-Gomez entitled "What is a Home?" The multi-piece installation will be on view in the Garver Atrium as well as future Garver Gallery, where pieces are also visible from the outside at all times. Interior viewing has limited hours and limited capacity, you may be asked to wait for others to leave before entering the exhibition space.
Jennifer Bastian and Luisa Garcia-Gomez were born on different continents, but both had a complex relationship with the idea of home during their youth and adolescence. During the 1990s, while Bastian moved weekly between her parents' houses due to their separation, Garcia took shelter in her home as a trench due to the violence of her country, Colombia. Both artists have consistently made work influenced by their desire to feel “at home.”
The purpose of a house is to have somewhere to sleep, eat, decorate, demolish, renovate, play, and clean. A roof and floor that safeguards from the outdoors. Walls to maintain privacy, a few windows to be shy. Although this is part of the what physically constitutes a house, it is the traces and the invisible remnants of our activities that gives an emotional sense of home. What happens when our home becomes a space of conflict or simply non-existent?
The installation by Bastian and Garcia at the Garver Feed Mill will be a small community of forts, constructed of inflatable mattresses, which will be enclosed in slipcovers made of fabric Bastian and Garcia designed themselves. The textile motifs used throughout the pieces are representative of the fabrics with which each artist grew up.
After the installation is completed, all of the air mattresses will be donated to a local group supporting community members experiencing homelessness.
While planning out this project, Garcia and Bastian invited the community of Madison and surrounding communities to examine what the idea of home means to them. Through an online survey, they asked the following questions:
- What is a home?
- How does your home protect you, or make you vulnerable?
- What do you wish was different about your home?
- Please describe your favorite part of your home, or a home you have had. Be as specific about textures, patterns and colors as you are able.
- What could our community do to make sure everyone living here has a safe home?
The responses received influenced the artists’ approach to creating their fabric designs and their vision for the installation. Excerpts from the responses will be included in a zine that will be available for free at the Garver Feed Mill while the work is up.