In My Room: Interior Environments
July 4 – August 15, 2013
Main Gallery | Centre for the Arts | W600

July 4 – August 15, 2013
Main Gallery

Reception: July 4, 4 – 6 pm
Curator: Jane Edmundson

Works from the U of L Art Collection.

There’s a world where I can go
And tell my secrets to
In my room
In my room

In this world I lock out
All my worries and my fears
In my room
In my room

Do my dreaming and my scheming, lie awake and pray
Do my crying and my sighing, laugh at yesterday

Now it’s dark and I’m alone
But I won’t be afraid
In my room
In my room

– Brian Wilson/Gary Usher

The border between public and private space is one that each of us traverses daily. Navigating the codes of conduct required of us by peers and strangers alike requires a performance of sorts, where we act to conform to the expectations of our “public” selves – characters that we play in the production of our external, social lives. Through pressures applied from without and within, the construction of public personhood is an ever-changing, yet inevitable constant of interpersonal reciprocity. Given the amount of effort this endless maneuvering requires, the private sphere becomes, for many of us, a space of refuge, relaxation, and quiet. Our fortresses of solitude, the inner rooms of our homes, are where we can temporarily lay down the mantle of public responsibilities, and exist without pretension or posturing. In this way, our private environments mimic our bodies’ interiors; there can be comfort and protection in being contained inside one’s intimate space. Conversely, while the strain of social norms is relaxed when we are at rest from our public lives, isolation and the opportunity for obsessive interior thoughts can reconfigure private rooms as sinister sites of imprisonment for some.

The artworks selected for In My Room depict rooms where we are often solitary – bathrooms, bedrooms, studios. In most of these representations, the spaces are starkly empty, suggesting they were formed via the artists’ personal, private experiences with seclusion. The few works that do offer peopled environments vacillate from warm, intimate scenes of domesticity (Chamber’s Diego Drawing and Smith’s Woman in Tub) to symbolic examinations of the ominous aspects of psychological withdrawl (evident in Hudson’s Shark diptych, where the secluded figure has only the glow of his televised portrait to fend off the menacing creatures in the dark). The mood here is quiet, introspective, and perhaps reflective of the hushed tones and careful movements we, as viewers, employ in the public-yet-sequestered interior environment of the gallery.

Jane Edmundson,
Preparator/Assistant Curator