This time last week I was installingCreature Comforts, which is the new installation and sculpture show here at the Workhouse. I’ve loved seeing this installation show go up, and meet so many of the artists. I wrote an article for the internal magazine here at work about installation art and the then upcoming showCreature Comforts.
Many things come to mind when the word “comfort” is mentioned. The Workhouse Arts Center’s May exhibition will showcase artist’s rendition of that very word. The exhibition will be specifically focusing on Creature Comforts, those material things in life that makes things just a bit easier.
This exhibition will contain a wide range of sculpture and installation art. The theme Creature Comforts can refer to something physical and tangible that gives comfort, or something that is a comforting idea. Creature Comforts’ sculpture and installation artwork deals with objects that recall feelings of ease and feelings of times gone by. Installation art has developed within the past 40 years within the art world. It combines all art forms in order to create a broader sensory experience, generally by filling a space with the objects or sculptures.
In February of this year, the Workhouse Arts Center had an installation exhibit titled Have A Heart, created by the artists in studio building W-4. Mary Gallagher Stout and John Gascot created this installation piece in the studio’s front gallery focused around hunger and the lack of food facing many family households today. The artists outlined a life size kitchen in the walls of the gallery. The kitchen motif, titled “Empty Kitchen” was a challenge to the community to fill the space with nonperishable food through a food drive benefiting Food For Others, a local Northern Virginia food distributor for unemployed or low income families.
Often times, art installations are created to reflect an idea, a strong emotion, or a cause. In the Workhouse’s upcoming Creature Comfort exhibition, artwork applicants are being accepted from all over the country and will be selected by jurors Mary Cook and Allison Nance, of microwave project, acts as a conduit between artists & groups/businesses to provide space for temporary pop-up, “micro” galleries. Their mission is to help promote these artists and educate the community, with their main focus being on site-specific installation art.
The Workhouse Arts Center is pleased to work in cooperation with microWave project, their work is centered around current and cutting edge contemporary art. Many installation artists use everyday materials to create extraordinary one of a kind sculptures. An example of this would be microWave project’s most recent installation project at the Huntington Mall, in Huntington West Virginia. This installation featured Germany-based artist Kelly O’Brien, and DC-area artist Lisa Schumaier who created two incredible pieces of art that were unveiled on December 4th at the mall’s Grand Reopening Gala. Lisa Schumaier’s installation uses recycled & salvaged material to create an enchanted forest, along with a dramatic dress made from Macy’s paper shopping bags. Kelly O’Brien’s piece, titled Grace’s Garden, features a figure swinging in the main entrance atrium with a dress made of hundreds of paper flowers and a long hanging train made from Rosetree Boutique paper shopping bags.
Exhibitions featuring installation artwork often brings a new perspective to the viewer, and always stirs conversation not only about the work, but also about the emotions or meaning that it represents. Creative Comfort will be a new and exciting exhibition that is unlike any exhibition that has been shown at the Workhouse Arts Center before.