Strangely Familiar is an exhibition of photography and mixed media artworks that explore ideas of being at "at home": in one's environment, time and place. The exhibition features work produced by Daniela Edburg and Barbara Levine during their Spring 2015 artist residency at Cherryhurst House.
Daniela Edburg is a visual artist who mixes photography, crochet and other media. During her residency, she focused on representations of adaptability by crocheting artificial moss and using it as a metaphor for exploring ideas about living structures, boundaries and identity. Moss, according to Edburg, "is an ancient plant that defies the idea you need strong roots to thrive. Instead of deep roots moss just needs a favorable environment." As part of her process, Daniela invited people from Houston's craft and artist communities to Cherryhurst House twice a week to crochet moss and help her create characters for a series of family portraits titled "The Mossmakers." Also on view will be Edburg's large format constructed photographs and intimate shadow boxes that invite the viewer into worlds of pure fiction.
Barbara Levine is an artist, collector and curator who uses found photographs to enact, or comment on, the inherent tension between the familiar, the remembered and the mysterious. For her residency project, Levine was inspired by the environment of Cherryhurst House to create a large object in the shape of a house which she then covered in antique tintype photographs. The miniature tin house is instantly recognizable as a domestic form, something that suggests it can be lived in and is a repository of memories and stories. In Levine's hands, the house is abstract and remote with no doors or windows. The found family photographs form a fragile skin on the house, softening the structure, yet remaining only as an exterior reminder of what might have been. Accompanying the house are photographic collages (made in collaboration with artist and graphic designer, Martin Venezky) which address the sometimes irreconcilable dimensions of time and space, as anonymous figures and details from old photographs interact in a landscape composed of geometric structures and abstract color blocks.
In Strangely Familiar, both Daniela Edburg and Barbara Levine investigate the meaning of place by creating provisional structures, spaces and topographies. Edburg intervenes in domestic and natural environments by inserting her artificial Mossmaker characters in timeless settings thereby creating new fictions about place and identity and Levine deploys the juxtaposition of vintage photography with contemporary artistic methods, technologies and imagery to create new ways of experiencing the photographic image. In this exhibition, each artist invites us to enter a place both familiar and strange - some aspects of which are recognizable, and others, wonderfully unexpected.
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