My solo exhibition "Homebodies"
reviewed by Mark Jenkins
on May 19, 2019
in The Washington Post
“What is it like to be a girl?” That’s one of the questions, written by children on lined paper, that Suzie Tuchman has hung on a laundry line at Harmony Hall Arts Center. The artist’s “Homebodies” doesn’t directly answer the child’s query. But it does have something to say about being a homemaker.
The largest single piece in the show, “Domestic Majesty,” is a gown made of steel wool and wire mesh, fitted to someone about 10 feet tall. Tuchman has also erected a “Mother House” of yellow sponges and green scouring pads, and she filled a wall with “Archive of Domesticity,” which arrays clumps of variously tinted lint in plastic food containers. Nearly all of the Maryland artist’s materials are commonly found in American kitchens and laundry rooms.
Tuchman says her art “explores and celebrates the embedded spiritual elements in the repetitive tasks” of housework.
Spirituality is in the eye of the beholder, but “Homebodies” does embody two qualities that are helpful around the house: humor and ingenuity.
Suzie Tuchman: Homebodies Through May 25 at Harmony Hall Arts Center, 10701 Livingston Rd., Fort Washington, Md.
My artwork investigates embedded spiritual meaning in the repetitive tasks of everyday domestic practices. I look at the home and the work that makes a home from a religious and spiritual perspective and explore the fulfilment and inevitable humor and in being a home maker and mother.
To maintain a home, repetitious tasks such as cleaning, cooking, doing laundry and child-rearing are performed. Domestic work relies on a process of transformation, which creates order where there was none. The constant cycle of work creates meaning, and it is through this embodied and deep mechanism that knowledge is made and preserved. Artifacts of domesticity, such as household detritus, provide remnants of past cycles of meaning making and I use these artifacts to explore how domestic knowledge is created, transferred and preserved between generations.
By elevating cleaning materials with unusual or incongruous properties and textures into garments and sculptures, I investigate the juxtaposition between meaning and labor. Through these materials and domestic practices, I create works which move from a personal spiritual practice into a broad reconsideration of what domestic knowledge can be.