As I walked through the 90 galleries spread across the two floors of the Fashion Industry Gallery (FIG) for the 2023 Dallas Art Fair, a common theme that caught my eye was depictions of home. The medium, style, and mood of the pieces varied greatly, from idyllic paintings of houses set amongst trees and beautiful skies, to stylized or abstracted spaces referencing homes. Here are a few of those pieces.
The everyday moments captured in paintings by Deborah Brown, Arthur Timothy, and Lindy Chambers remind viewers that a house can take many forms and that neighborhoods across the world have their own unique sights and sounds providing a feeling of comfort.
The stylized paintings of homes by Cara Nahaul, Larissa de Souza, and Benjamin Styer range from simple to intricate. Nahaul’s serene scene is reminiscent of the mood captured in Brown’s Tall Palms. Souza and Styer each give us a glimpse inside a home, but in very different ways; Souza incorporates figures and reveals the differing experiences of people in and around the home, whereas Styer uses the vernacular of an illuminated manuscript to show intricate details of an expansive home, much like a cutaway dollhouse.
Works by Greg Ito, James Surls, and Emma Schwartz present eerie images of homes. Ito’s apocalyptic We Can’t Promise Forever seems like it is pulled straight from news of California wildfires. Though more subtle, Surls’ sculpture In the House hints at fire through the charred appearance of its wood, and doubles down on the ominous with the inclusion of peering eyes positioned at the roof of the house. Similarly, the simplicity of Schwartz’s painting of a massive house with a desolate yard emanates a haunting mood.
Most of the works centering the idea of home were created within the last year or so. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has mostly subsided, I found myself wondering if this attention to home is a holdover from our collective time spent in our homes, or if it speaks to a broader yearning we have for a place of comfort.