DROWNING DEPTHS (HOME)
Who gets to be the subject of the story, who matters, and who our compassion and interest should be directed at is a loaded question.
Drowning Depths Between Solitude and Loneliness (Home) is a multi-part digital collage series asking that most worrisome of quandaries: what are we to do with the lives that are not remarkable, those lives that everyone ends up living? Reflecting on who gets to be the subject of the story taking place at home, who matters behind the scene, and who our compassion and interest should be directed at as a matter of both personal and political will. We don't crave the things we're close to, even if they've shaped us into who we are. A series of overly familiar domestic scenes -the bedroom, bathtub, cabinets, hallway, chair- are altered to appear disorienting, almost menacing not with choreographed action but with the sheer force of a pulsating absence. Devoid of the human presence, they lack warmth despite the bejeweled tones that reshape a drab reality into a luminous world thus issuing an invitation to think carefully about who and how fully one gets to inhabit these spaces.
What does one understand with "life at home" and what are the various coping mechanisms involved especially when it comes to women? A collection of moments that balloon in a prickling weight hard to carry around. Motherhood feels heavy, heavier still is the pressure to conform at the expense of one's whole personhood not to mention the weight of day-to-day momentous yet banal existence. An artist by profession and a jack of all trades by necessity, a poet and a picture book creator, a disenchanted wife and an engaged social crusader, a daughter and a mother, an avid reader and a good baker, how does Xheka, an artist, a mother and a wife live "life at home"? Can she create a great body of work and raise a family at the same time? As a creator she keeps a purposefully irregular schedule, craves solitude, and must fade out of reach in order to work. As a mother, one is accomodating by reflex. As a wife, her story seems to make sense to the world only if viewed through her husband's paycheck and accomplishments.
What about her? What about her work which is often done once the children are tucked in bed? What about her whole being which often gets relegated to unfulfilled potential? She is hard at work creating other spaces for herself, quietly but resolutely. These other rooms, empty yet pulsating, showcase the female artist's desire to cast a searching eye on all the ways that archetypal domestic life strips women, mothers in particular, from the ability to decide for themselves which facet of their multidimensional persona they choose to put in front of the world as worthy for further examination. In other words, for her there’s coherence, care and worry, between her art and her personal life.
- Visual Influences
Kirsten Lilford - Her paintings of domestic life, leisure time and family outings are never simple or idyllic; there is a sinister, surreal and uncanny air to these works.
Agnes Martin - "When I think of art, I think of beauty. Beauty is the mystery of life. It is not in the eye it is in the mind. In our minds there is awareness of perfection,"
Louis Muhlstock - Empty Rooms is part of a series of studies of abandoned apartments in poor Montréal neighbourhoods in which Louis Muhlstock combines social observation and formal exploration.