Gwen van Embden 

Domestic Departures


Hours of the Day, each discrete work in 'Hours of the Day' has its correspondence in my encounters with art history. Wandering through books and biennales the imprints remain and are translated and digested in a daily domestic and quotidian practice. Small intimate gestures reflecting chance encounters and correspondences seemingly disparate but held together by a shared affinity, be it stylistic or conceptual. Mixed Media.
An exhibition by artists who have worked together for a number of years as a group, here and in Italy, with artists/teachers Rose Shakinovsky and Claire Gavronsky (Rosenclaire), and who address, in Domestic Departures, contemporary issues of gender and women's experience of the domestic...Media include ceramic sculpture, installation, prints and painting.

Rosenclaire have been working as a Colab since 1987. Our work is generally context-specific. We join forces in order to creatively facilitate a discourse pertaining to a specific theme, place or situation we are invited to participate in. This may be a curated show such as this, a public sculpture or a pedagogic intervention. The work is done specifically for the conceptual task at hand where, as artists, we regain control and responsibility for generating a specific dialogue with both the art world and general public.  Reflecting on the curatorial theme of “Domestic Departures” in a University gallery in Fullerton LA led us to probe into the concerns around Departures from the Domestic and their implications in relation to art and life.

What is the cultural construct of the domestic and what would be considered a departure?  Same sex couples?  Immigrant families with different cultural and religious practices? Is it the suburban house sheltering the ideal heterosexual family all happily cooking, mending and mowing in domestic bliss? The notion of a fully functional realm in which inflexible, habitual codes of behavior support predetermined, mapped out paths? Or is it possibly a primary locus, of acceptance and understanding of difference. Domestic, is indigenous to our thought, to our respective nations…we produce it and live by it or fight it and depart from it.

We look at the statistics that reveal what’s going on behind many of our closed doors: domestic violence, psychological and substance abuse…one in four woman in the US is a victim of domestic violence not to mention the abuse of domestic workers in the home. The home is a microcosm, a breeding and training ground for all cultural constructs and value systems. Violence breeds Violence, Peace engenders Peace. Does a country mirror this when it violates the borders of another country in the name of homeland security, and what of our own national borders and fences that consecrate the motherland; is it a departure when the walls of our own domesticity and private lives are penetrated by surveillance?  But then we too spy on our children, our caregivers and monitor our own homes. The walls have become porous and have satellite ears like Mickey who still smiles and presents a good face despite all odds. Surveillance is ubiquitous, yet undercover and increasingly invasive of our privacy.

"Bird" - Gauche on Paper

"Rabbits" - Gauche on Paper 

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