Gallery exhibit “Sanctuary” explores definitions of home

The Dorrance H. Hamilton Gallery has announced the opening of “Sanctuary,” a curated exhibition that unites the creative work of seven artists to explore definitions of home. Together, the images and objects of these New England-based artists examine the sanctuaries we construct, both real and imagined.

Curated by Beth Kantrowitz and Kathleen O’Hara of Drive-by Projects in Watertown, Massachusetts, “Sanctuary” will run through Wednesday, Nov. 1. An opening reception will be held from 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5 in the gallery, with a talk by the curators at 6 p.m.

Is a house a sanctuary? Civilizations throughout history have constructed
 shelters to protect from the elements, invaders and predators, but at a certain point people craved more than mere refuge from physical discomfort and danger. Social and commercial issues such as privacy, family needs and status emerged and influenced the types of dwellings that were built and inhabited. As an ideology of “home” has taken shape over time, an elemental question prevails: When does a house provide the sanctuary of a home, and at what point does it lose its homey status?

Works in the exhibition include Emily Hass’ spare, poignant, architecture-based drawings, Kelly Sherman’s “Family House” floor plans and Kathleen O’Hara’s wallpaper/painting installation “Peep Show.” Fritz Hortsman’s small models taken from the formworks of buildings he has known intimately occupy wall and floor space, along with Linda Nagaoka’s bone white ceramic sculpture of resilient plant forms that emerged from the ruins of the Hiroshima bombing.

Photography in the exhibition includes Remi Thorton’s spooky nighttime photographs of abandoned buildings and Kelly Sherman’s “Sofas” series of the artist testing sofas in a Crate and Barrel store. Julia Hechtman’s video “A Man Out of Time (For CM)” documents a bearded, tattooed man’s experience of REM sleep. The inherent contradiction of this film with its cozy, serene bed and the slightly threatening bad-boy persona of the sleeping man ask the elemental question posed by the exhibition, “when is a home really a sanctuary?”

The gallery is handicap accessible with parking along Lawrence and Leroy avenues. Its exhibits are open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and noon to 4 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The gallery is closed on Mondays.

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