Home is Where the Art is

Designing & Deconstructing the Dairy Art Center's Newest Exhibition, Modern Habitat

Article by Amelia Broughton

Photography by Lindsey Haligas

Originally published in Boulder Lifestyle

When entering a home, some things might seem familiar, others foreign, and others fascinating. One might notice the arrangement of the furniture, the adorned walls, and the way natural light shimmers through the windows. 

Perhaps a collection of books stand out, or the fresh flowers on the table. Or maybe it’s the color palette that was chosen specifically to match an heirloom centerpiece.

Whatever the first impression, there is instantly so much to take in. Yet how often do people slow down to truly notice their environments and what it contains? How often do we take the time to allow our senses to intake and adapt to the bombardment of branding and consumer-driven identification? What about the structural elements such as the pipes, plumbing, and wires that run through the ceilings, floors, and walls? 

Are we aware of the way in which the objects we choose to surround ourselves with provide a sense of self? 

These are just some of the questions provoked when diving into conversation with Jessica Kooiman Parker, Curator of Visual Arts at the Dairy Arts Center. Her newest curation, Modern Habitat, is an impressive co-production with local artists and architects that invites viewers to journey through creative processes and personal fascinations with this concept of “home” in mind.  

To truly understand what catalyzed Kooiman Parker’s intrigue around the idea of “home”, it’s important to go back to the time she demolished, designed, and rebuilt her own home with her husband. 

Informed by this intimate and cathartic experience, Kooiman Parker began to unpack the deeper questions built into this experience: What do we consider to be “home”? Who or what entices us to buy items for our homes? How do we connect to our sense of “home”? Do we know what really exists behind those walls? The list goes on. 

With the hope of weaving a cohesive story throughout the exhibit, and by using her own in-depth process of demolishing and rebuilding her home as a starting point,  Kooiman Parker was led to artists with architectural backgrounds. Modern Habitat will showcase the works of Will Day, Margie Criner, Davis Arney, Arch11, Workshop8, Pyatt Studio, HMH Architecture, Renée del Gaudio, Sopher Sparn Architects, and Housefish. 

Kooiman Parker’s co-creative process with Day, a local abstract artist, is the result of establishing trust between curator and artist. Over a year in the making, Kooiman Parker boldly asked Day to stop paintings midway in order to showcase every step of his creative process.

Rather than being product-oriented, Kooiman Parker’s process shines a light on Day’s foundational elements, sketches, his personal story, and the framework of his art.

With a strong emphasis on storytelling, each featured artist encourages viewers to take a closer look and see what lies behind closed doors. From sculptures to sketches, there is no shortage of unique perspectives to deconstruct.  

Opening September 5th, this exhibit will welcome visitors with open arms, inviting them into unseen scenes, with the hope of inspiring an inspection of our own deeper motives. No matter how a person might define home sweet home, visitors are likely to leave with a greater appreciation for and understanding of habitats and our own places within them. 

Exhibition details:

"Modern Habitat"
Featuring Will Day, Margie Criner, Davis Arney, Arch11, Workshop8, Pyatt Studio, HMH Architecture, Renée del Gaudio, Sopher Sparn Architects, and Housefish 

Opening Reception: Thursday, September 5 from 5:00-8:00 pm
Exhibition runs from September 5 through October 13, 2019 

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