This first exhibition at Albright-Knox Northland features work by Heather Hart, Edra Soto, and Rodney Taylor that explores how people build connections to others both inside and outside the walls of those structures we call home.
Visitors are encouraged to climb on top of and underneath Heather Hart’s life-size rooftop construction, unexpectedly situated at ground level within the gallery. Over the course of the exhibition, this interactive sculpture environment will host performances, discussions, community gatherings, and other events led by local artists, cultural producers, community leaders, and regional historians. Programming is an integral part of opening up this house—which is loosely based on Hart’s childhood home—to wide-ranging conversations and opportunities to share with one another.
Since 2016, Edra Soto has turned her daily dog walks into what she has likened to urban beachcombing: collecting discarded liquor bottles. The artist carefully strips her findings of their branded labeling, and she plays up the simple elegance of the bare bottles by displaying them on decorative panels inspired by the painted wrought-iron screens that commonly adorn homes in her native Puerto Rico. As part of special artmaking activities, visitors will be invited to adorn the bottles with cast-clay seashells, reimagining the definition of beauty in our personal and shared spaces through the creation of these newly enhanced hybrids.
A series of Rodney Taylor’s paintings inspired by homes near his studio on Fillmore Avenue in Buffalo’s East Side complete the exhibition. Like both Hart and Soto, Taylor was interested in revealing the complexities at the heart of such everyday structures. In his paintings, he transforms the architecture of the homes into virtual frames, suggesting buildings under stress. These images confront us with what we regularly see but rarely acknowledge: the burden, unequally distributed in an environment of increasingly stark economic disparities, of maintaining what ought to be a space of sanctuary and shelter.