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'Moving Home' at The Hunterdon Art Museum

Posted on: Friday, October 15, 2010

Urmila Mohan's 'Moving Home' mixed media installation at The Hunterdon Art Museum in Clinton, NJ

Artist Urmila Mohan comments on her 'Moving Home' exhibition - on view at The Hunterdon Museum of Art through December 5, 2010:

"In Moving Home I use the ephemeral packing peanut as a symbol of the permanence as well as the transience of home – the two different yet related states of being rooted and routed. I subvert the functionality of packing peanuts by casting them in white clay slip and hide their image within the screen-printed camouflage pattern on fabric and wallpaper. By covering the elements of the installation, like the wall, upholstered couch and disembodied traveler’s suit with packing peanuts “skins,” I represent the corporeality of surfaces and question how we create, define and simulate identity."

An excerpt from the curator's statement:

"Working at The Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia, Mohan also created fabrics and wallpaper that incorporate the image of the packing peanut into a camouflage pattern. She uses these materials to transform the gallery into a domestic space. A matching “traveler’s suit” hangs in the room, suggesting the missing human presence that is required to complete the idea of home."

Image 1: Installation ViewHunterdon Art Museum, 2010, Screenprinted cotton, Devoré, Slipcast earthenware. Image 2: Traveler’s Suit, 2010, Screenprinted cotton, Packing paper, Body form. (images courtesy of the artist).


Lilly said...

Permanence vs transience, rooted vs routed,
camouflage vs identity, skins vs corporeality!
Weighty, smart issues actualized with precision, critical study and visual beauty!
I would expect no less from you. Congratulations!

Joseph M. Scandariato, Sr. said...

I was immediately absorbed by the imaginative use of common materials transformed to reveal not only cultural influences (the Asian/Indian motifs and sensitivity to form and nature) but also the aesthetic vision in the their uses.
The curtains revealing a prismatic effect as the light passes through the design and providing a scintillating aura in the room.
The bright and almost playful nature of the clothing that looks so inviting and anxiously awaiting a body to fill it.
Common Styrofoam packing translated into recurring designs in clay and fabric. The clay replicas strewn on the floor invite you to touch them and test their unity because they look as if you should walk on them.
Top all this with the artist’s complete sense of openness in her work and her ability to say to the viewer that there is beauty of form, function and color in even the most common item that we daily take for granted (and even discard) and you have a visual and emotional experience that should be shared. I look for more expositions of a fertile imagination and gifted talent in the future.

Anonymous said...

Moving Home

I see your moving
Time and space moving through you
Moving home towards you
Moving you to you

I see your moving
Your moving moves through me
Moving me to me

Thank you Urmila for showing the way.

Marsha Carldon, Rotary International Past District Governor said...

Artist Urmila Mohan’s “Moving Home” was very thought provoking, representing a person in physical transience. Experiencing “Moving Home” made me examine the many personal and fragile times of transience in my own life. During these times, the packing peanuts were my family, my friends and my strength - protecting me from breaking. The suit of clothes was empty and would be so until I was able to move forward in my life and be able to fill it. The ceramic peanut rug was my foundation during these times, moveable and not solid and attached. Looking through the curtains, my perspective would immediately change if I took a step forward or a step backward – making me realize how critical my perception of life it is during these times of change. The beautiful couch was empty, like my life seems during these difficult times.
We are continually “Moving Home” to find a happy, safe place in our lives. These sudden, uncertain times of transience force us to learn and to grow.
I want to thank Urmila for the insight "Moving Home" gave to me.
Marsha Carldon

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