“Each small adjustment to the world of the house contributes to a kind of domestic archaeology...”
—Brian Dillon, In the Dark Room (cited in Gill Perry, Playing at Home)
If you’ve ever wondered about the process of oil painting – the pigment mixing, the priming, the layering, the brushwork – visit Oxtail Studio this weekend.
Laura Cincotta is staging a reception that will involve live painting, along with a display of work that is in different levels of completion. Seeing the artist at work is a treat that is both guilty and anticipatory: a mix of voyeuristic pleasure at peeking into an artist’s private world, and a feeling of slow realization as you see objects begin to take shape, and colors begin to delineate shadow and light.
The series on exhibit is a visual record of Cincotta’s family home. In her artist statement she writes,
My concept of home is embodied in my parent’s house in a New Jersey suburb where I and my seven siblings grew up… Each room is represented in a painting that seeks to evoke memory, family history and elements of past and present.
The decision to show works in flux reflects the reality that homes are always in a state of constant creation. Home is where identity is defined and memories are hammered out of the detritus of local environments. Houses change: decor, additions, subtractions, inhabitants. Home is never finished.
Cincotta’s style of painting is characteristically redolent of movement and these empty rooms are no exception. The absence of human figures only serves to emphasize their presence. Looking at the paintings, you get the feeling that someone has just rushed out of the room – the iron is hot, the window is open. The traces of life are palpable.
Different levels of completion put the viewer in a construction zone where memories of a childhood are arranging themselves in the eye of the artist. Each level of revision is meaningful on its own. The underpaintings are white, exposing a skeleton that is austerely beautiful without meat on its bones. White panels are light waiting to materialize. Pieces that are further along are testaments to ordinary life.
How Many Rooms Make a Home? is a window into the often very intimate space of the studio to engage the community in a conversation about process. The process of artmaking; of conceiving, developing and undertaking a project; and of examining personal and collective experience and the cultural notion of home.