Irina Arnaut, Barnett Cohen, Hein Koh, Lucia Love, Anna Plesset, Emily Mae Smith, Nick van Woert
JDJ | The Ice House
June 29 - September 2, 2019
Each of the artists in HOME/WORK were asked to think about the complicated relationship between work and personal life, and particularly, the invisible labor we perform in our domestic lives. The exhibition is inspired in part by the history of The Ice House, which is located within a compound of buildings built about a century ago, originally used as the service quarters for an estate on the Hudson River. The original inhabitants of these buildings were living and working here—farming, harvesting ice, tending to animals, cooking, taking care of their employer while taking care of each other.
The work related to domestic life — including child and elder care, cooking and cleaning — is invisible by design. It is excluded from this country’s Gross Domestic Product calculation, and therefore has no recognized economic value, yet society would stop functioning without this labor, which is performed most often by women. There is a rhizomatic relationship between domestic work, identity, and money, and the American capitalist system has historically failed those who perform it by ignoring the value that it creates for society as a whole.
After my daughter Bea was born in October 2017, the balance between work and personal life became an increasingly vexing negotiation. JDJ | The Ice House was conceived a hybrid exhibition and domestic space as an attempt to create a more harmonious relationship between my professional and home life. It is a very personal topic for me, and it is for each artist, many of whom have made new work for this exhibition.
Irina Arnaut’s video expresses the otherworldly weirdness and the range of feelings conjured by the act of pumping breastmilk for her newborn daughter.
Barnett Cohen uses common vernacular found on stickers to explore how American society identifies with particular notions of labor and desires to make it more visible.
Hein Koh was inspired by her twin daughters and the fantastical world depicted in their children’s books to create her psychedelic soft sculptures.
Lucia Love’s allegorical character the water carrier is depicted in two paintings — in one, overcome by her responsibilities, and in another, rising triumphantly despite them.
Anna Plesset researched the history of the site and unearthed objects from the property to create a still life painting that references the site’s various functions over the last century, and alludes to the invisibility of labor, the recovery of history, and the erosion of memory.
Emily Mae Smith’s new painting and drawing perfectly captures her synthesis of feminism, social commentary, art historical references and humor.
Nick van Woert layers materials found in the home improvement aisle, commonly used as the tectonic materials of domestic space, to create a tower that reveals an abstracted landscape.
Concurrent with HOME/WORK, on view in the cottage is a new unique silkscreen by Emily Mae Smith. This work is the debut project produced by Elective Affinity, a multidisciplinary platform featuring editions and publications with an emphasis on artistic agency. It will be available exclusively by visiting JDJ | The Ice House.
Medusa (gesture), 2019 features Smith’s iconic broomstick avatar, a pile of snakes with glowing eyes atop her head. This figure serves as the female foil to the gestural background of the picture, which nods to the male-ness of abstract expressionism. A seven-color silkscreen with hand-painted interventions by Smith during the printing process, there are fourteen unique versions of this work.
A portion of the profits from the sales of Medusa (gesture), 2019 will benefit the Yellowhammer Fund. The Yellowhammer Fund envisions a society in which reproductive decisions are made free from coercion, shame, or state interference, a society in which individuals and communities have autonomy in making healthy choices regarding their bodies and their futures.
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.