What is home? New 'Homebody' exhibit at Cranbrook Art Museum explores

Maureen Feighan
The Detroit News

A chair. A double sink. A ceiling tile. A piece of drywall. A lamp-like sculpture.

All are part of a new exhibition, "Homebody," at the Cranbrook Art Museum that explores the many meanings and layers of home. But each item is anything but straightforward and it's about thinking about home as "an evolving concept," said Kat Goffnett, the museum's assistant curator of collections.  

The exhibition features roughly 30 pieces from 20 artists, many with Michigan ties, including Mario Moore, Jessika Edgar, Sophie Eisner, Martha Mysko and Victoria Shaheen. "Homebody," which features a range of mediums including photography, fiber and ceramics, runs through June 19.

A piece named "When you can't leave the country - Build a portal" by artist Dessislava Terzieva, hangs as part of a new exhibit, "Homebody," at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, in Bloomfield Hills, January 24, 2022. The exhibit explores the idea of what is home.

The drywall, for example, is a rectangular piece of drywall from artist Dominic Palarchio's father's home in Brighton. It went into foreclosure around 2008. Pencil lines with names and dates mark the drywall, a growth chart for Palarchio and his siblings along with cousins and friends. Palarchio often uses found objects in his work, explores issues of work, class and material scarcity.

The drywall is about "grasping one aspect of home," said Palarchio, who rediscovered the drywall while helping his dad move last year. "It might not be living there but in a transitionary way."

Goffnett said the idea for "Homebody" stemmed from her own experiences, living in multiple apartments during graduate school in Michigan.

"I kept trying to find ways to find belonging and home in these spaces that I knew I'd only be in for more than a year — and grappling with that," she said.

Artist Dessislava Terzieva, a Bulgaria native who splits her time between Bulgaria and Michigan, has two pieces in the exhibit, one of which is a sculpture that features a leather gloved hand gripping several plastic shopping bags.

Artist  Dessislava Terzieva's "Physics of Sorrow" sculpture features bags and a leather glove. A native of Bulgaria, plastic bags are treasured in Eastern Europe.

Terzieva, who said her work often explores hybridity, belonging, nostalgia and memory, said as taboo as plastic shopping bags may be in the Western world, that's not the case in Eastern Europe.

"In Eastern Europe, the relationship is much different," said Terzieva, a Cranbrook Academy of Art graduate, in an email. "At one point during Communism, the plastic bag was a treasured commodity. Not only were they used as handbags, but they were washed, hung out to dry, folded, and put away for future use."

A piece named ‘What To Do With Windows’, by Maria Mysko hangs as part of a new exhibit titled Homebody, at the Cranbrook Academy of Art, in Bloomfield Hills, January 24, 2022. The exhibit explores the idea of what is home.

Each piece in the exhibit isn't what it appears to be. Many explore the ideas of identity and belonging.

Artist Sophie Eisner used silicone to reimagine a double sink. But it looks nothing like a double sink as it's displayed in the exhibit.

"Sophie's work really tries to play with people's perceptions of these objects that you use in your home every day — like sinks, bars of soap — to kind of make us appreciate them more, consider them in different ways and draw on their bodily connection," said Goffnett. 

mfeighan@detroitnews.com

'Homebody'

at the Cranbrook Art Museum, 39221 Woodward Avenue, Bloomfield Hills.

Opens Wednesday through June 19.

Go to https://cranbrookartmuseum.org/.