Home Alone 3: On Pause

From the Director

Locked away – possibly alone. What is too much time? What is not enough?

We’ve all gone a little stir crazy here and there in the nearly 12 months since the Corona virus changed the world. Finding peace, connection and purpose during “regular life” is no easy task. Add months and months of isolation to an artist’s need to work, invent and share, and much can happen.

Sometimes special works come from special circumstances.

The work in Home Alone 3 – On Pause examines the passing of time – its compression, its expansion, its seemingly endless repetition as we wait and wait and wait for this damn pandemic to be controlled. As we dream of the day when we can return to “normal” life (whatever that may be), we figure out incrementally how to get by. Digging deeper into ongoing investigations, resurrecting past projects that newly resonate or entirely shifting gears in response to social distancing and isolation, the artists presented here grapple with universal experiences of boredom, loneliness, claustrophobia, patience and, through the sheer persistence of making work, hope.

In our contingent time, Matt Frieburghaus examines the constants of earth and sky through video and photography. He samples sound and images of expansive landscapes, distills the images to their essences of color and shape, then recombines them into shifting abstract videos enveloped in the sounds of the original location. Time, space and sound are compressed into videos and images that offer space, escape and (the good kind of) solitude reminiscent of dawn at the seaside or the endless wonder of the view from a mountaintop.

Michigan artist Mandy Cano Villalobos has re-inhabited an earlier series of humble, ritualized solo actions. Her Sanities and Solitudes performances engage the humblest of tasks – scrubbing a floor, smashing berries, tearing pages – where each action, though short in duration and simple of process, grows into an accomplishment – modest yet still of note – that speaks to the effort of just getting through, one-step-at-a-time.

The filmic videos by Shanghai-based American artist Janaye Brown invite the viewer to patiently observe and experience the stillness of just waiting while mundane actions, potential or real, unfold in a profoundly undramatic yet quietly captivating fashion. Boats pass at a distance. A man does tai chi. A couple embraces. Grounded by sparse soundtracks of music or narration, Brown’s tableaux contemplate anticipation, place and community.

Who among us has not felt trapped at home recently? Megan Suttles twists, turns and contorts herself to fit uncomfortably into a series of open cubes/containment zones of decreasing size. The walls have literally closed in. As stand-ins for any number of life’s challenges – social isolation, small city apartments, reduced income – she forces herself to fit into these ever smaller spaces, sacrificing physical comfort and freedom of movement in the process.

This is an exhibition to visit repeatedly. From the amusing to the quietly contemplative, the works included speak to the breadth and commonality of our experiences as we hold on, just a little longer, waiting and hoping.

Tara Fracalossi
Associate Professor/Gallery Director

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