Sunday, June 20, 2010

PRESS RELEASE: Habitat for Artists at Helen Day Art Center in Stowe

Helen Day Art Center is delighted to announce that we will be hosting the Habitat For Artists project this summer in Stowe. Habitat for Artists (HFA) is a site-specific, collaborative exhibition / creation / intervention project that provides artists with a basic 6 ft. by 6 ft. shed to be considered as a habitat/workspace for the duration of the exhibition. Participating artists will inhabit this simple and temporary structure and use the space to create art works or turn the structure into an artwork prior to and during the time of the exhibition. One habitat will be constructed on the front lawn of the Helen Day and the indoor gallery will host an exhibition entitled Recycling the Studio, a collection of works by artists involved in the HFA project over the past three years. It will also include an indoor Habitat as well as historical information and images documenting the project's history and evolution.

Habitat for Artists (HFA) was founded by Hudson Valley-based artist Simon Draper in 2008 after working for years with ideas related to space and found materials in his art practice. He relates a story about a woman contacted by the local authorities to remove her ice house before the spring thaw took hold. She protested the ice fishing shed was not her own. Later after examining the shed she discovered its owner had used her previously discarded paintings to cover part of the shed, allowing the police to confuse it for her own. It was out of this idea of repurposing artwork as a form of community interaction that the habitats were born.

Over the past three years, artists involved with HFA have built and worked in over twenty 6' x 6' temporary, portable studios made of predominantly reused and recycled material and installed on various sites, including a CSA farm, an environmental center, a river park and a parking lot. The studios function as residencies with a modest yet distinct presence that enables artists to explore their art practice and develop a new dialogue with different communities, as well as with other artists. Simultaneously a place for creating work and the work itself, these structures function as both studios for artists and installations for viewers to enter into and engage with. The HFA initiative addresses a number of diverse topics, such as: the creation of communities by artists and the consequent ejection of artists from these communities; matters of sustainability in art; thinking about the artistic process and its private and public manifestations; providing spaces of reflection for the public and asking the question "How much, how little, space is required to create and show art?"

Images: Top: Molly Rausch. Lost and Found, 2009
Bottom: Habitat for Artists Montage, 2004-2009