The Exploration of Homes
Historic neighborhoods have a unique role in creating an aesthetic in Indianapolis. Their homes are diverse. Victorian or mid-century, abandoned or restored, razed or brand new are all represented. On May 3rd, Harrison Center for the Arts studio artists Candice Hartsough McDonald and Emily Gable are presenting their work about the role and utility of homes in Indianapolis in the show HOMAGE.
Departing slightly from her typical illustrations, McDonald, whose characters are oriented towards children, has created a new series focusing on old buildings re-purposed and reused in new applications. "I was originally inspired by the city of Indianapolis' current initiative to tear down old, abandoned, 'useless' houses. But as I worked I found myself thinking about how old buildings can be re-purposed in new and useful ways," she said. As her focus shifted from uselessness to usefulness, the tone of the work became more light and cheerful.
The pieces might show a home placed into the nest of watchful owl, or a friendly garden snake enveloping a picturesque house. However, her favorite piece, "Repurposed", is an idea she has held onto for three years. The only comical piece, it features a fox acting as a nest for birds.
Like the fox piece, not all of the works feature houses. Many of them, instead, include elements or concepts of homes which have already been torn down. McDonald saved "the bits that make it special and reuse[d] them somewhere else." She sees the city full of opportunities for rebirth.
Walking the neighborhoods of Martindale Brightwood, Herron-Morton Place, Old Northside, and Fountain Square, Emily Gable drew inspiration from these areas for her series about gables. Gable's work has addressed the subject of houses for a number of years. In the work for HOMAGE, she explores pattern, color, and shape on many of the historic homes. The pieces will show as much variety as the neighborhoods from which she's drawn inspiration.
"Houses... are filled with lots of memories from everyone. These houses meld with the people that live in them, leave them, and fix them," she said. The gables, then, represent the unique lives that were housed within them. The piece to be on the lookout for is one Gable created two years ago quite by accident. She describes it as looking a little more off than the rest.