HOMEWRECKER, FRIEZE WEEK, SELECT FAIR

Homewrecker
May 13-17, 2015
FRIEZE WEEK | Select Fair | Booth 211 Center
548 22nd Street | Chelsea, New York


The monster I kill every day is the monster of realism.
The monster who attacks me every day is destruction.
Out of the duel comes the transformation.
I turn destruction into creation over and over again.
—Anaïs Nin

Claudine Maidique Gallery is pleased to present Homewrecker, a temporary group exhibition examining the emotional complexities of the construction, devastation, and resolution of marriage and family life in contemporary society. The show transcends the common connotation of “homewrecker,” and explores the multiple ways that the “home” can be “wrecked”—whether by betrayal, loss, neglect, disease or addiction, or psychological crisis. Each of the works by the five talented artists in this exhibition offer a glimpse of normative models of American home life and simultaneously reveal a distortion of these social mores. The exhibition seeks to provide more questions than answers: what constitutes a home? What does it mean to have it destroyed? Can a wrecked home be rebuilt or regenerated, its destruction transformed into creation?

Often the dysfunction or destruction of the home comes from within, yet on the surface the illusion of a traditional home remains—like ornate wallpaper covering a rotten wall. Like a manic Penelope obsessively raveling and unraveling her yarn, Melissa Maddonni-Haims exploits a traditionally “feminine” handiwork, crocheting examples of what loss feels like and pairing the kitschy needlework with stark and socially unacceptable thoughts, such as “You Repulse Me” and “I Can’t Go On Like This.” The vibrant, cheery palette masks the depth of the discontent and desperation. Nina Bentley subverts traditional social mores with her mixed media pieces that play with the viewer’s conception of accepted moral attitudes. Her wordplay and tongue-in-cheek perversion of familiar objects, such as a bride-groom cake topper, belies the pain that lurks under the surface. Corbett Fogue’s series of photographs entitled “Homewrecker” are inspired by Iowa’s ruling in favor of same-sex marriage and offer an ironic poke at the more conservative view of the “destruction” of the family unit. These portraits—depicting an androgynous subject wearing a dated, upholstered dress that exactly matches the background—create a push-pull between the viewer and the subject, who is camouflaged and somehow imprisoned by the traditional roles that it seeks to emulate.

The work in Homewrecker engages the viewer to consider the tension between multiple dichotomies: public and private, sacred and profane, moral and corrupt, victim and perpetrator, fantasy and reality. Just so, Joel Werring’s oil paintings blend tragedy and humor, blurring boundaries between childhood loss and the resolution of adulthood, and suggesting narratives—the artist’s father in a Groucho Marx mask standing in front of a burning home, a woman preparing to leave her husband—that both extol and subvert the sanctity of family, legacy, and memory. Pam Zaremba’s photography and installations—which incorporate hoarded collections of objects found in her father’s basement after his recent death—offer a window into the private life of her own family and that of her neighbors. Zaremba enters suburban homes that have been abandoned and contracted for demolition, and photographs what is left behind. The detritus of these once seemingly happy abodes reveals a story of home life that is charged with sadness, disillusionment, and impermanence. Yet it is the destruction of these soon-to-be wrecked and resurrected homes that offers the hope, if not the guarantee, of a more promising future.