“Domestic”—relating to the running of a home or to family relations—is often a gendered term, connoting a space in which the woman presides yet is simultaneously relegated. However, Disrupting Domestic positions the domestic as a created space, a vessel constructed for the purpose of memory, of expression, and of comfort. Artists Johannes Barfield, Pallavi Sen, and Stephanie J. Woods each explore relationships between personal space, memory, family, and the politics of rest.
Do you hear the lull of music that for some reason makes you want to sway your body back and forth to the beat as you move through the space? Barfield invokes memories of family cookouts and gatherings with imagery and a soundtrack rooted in personal memories of those occasions.
Sen recreates a living space, a bedroom to be exact. She posits that the bedroom and home are the most permanent installation spaces. They are a true expression of personal aesthetic. The space is intentionally warm and functional, a stark contrast to the usually sterile or feigned neutrality of typical art spaces.
For Woods, a space in which the armor dawned to move through everyday life can be a challenge to come by–especially for those identifying as Black women. Healing lavender and collage create a space that invites vulnerability. Here, time for joy and relaxation is assumed to be an inherent right instead of a luxury.
Johannes Barfield is a multimedia artist from Winston-Salem, NC who works in photography, video, sculpture, and sound installations. His work revolves around the black American experience and how institutions and systems of power and influence are connected to the amplification and nullification of blackness.
In his work, Johannes examines: urban and rural environments as a space for creative exchange, his childhood memories, acts of violence provoked by poverty, internet age lynchings by police who receive immunity, the music played at family cookouts, the public school system in the south, and how systems of control are implemented through the open road and car culture.
Johannes received an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University in Photography + Film and a BFA from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in New Media + Design. He is also the recipient of several fellowships and residencies including the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship that is awarded to programs and people who show exceptional promise in the arts, The Fine Arts Work Center Fellowship in Provincetown, MA, The Lighthouse Works Fellowship in Fisher Island, NY, the ACRE Residency in Steuben, WI, and the MASS MoCA Residency in North Adams, MA.
Born in 1989, Pallavi Sen is from Bombay, India. She works with installation, printmaking, textiles, Instagram, and intuitive movement. Current interests include planting meadows, inner lives of birds and animals, the grief of imagining a collective future in the anthropocene, South Asian costumes, domestic architecture, altars, deities, atheism and magical thinking, skate/bro culture, style, pattern history, toxic masculinity, friendship + love, her future lover, farming and the artist as farmer, work spaces, work tables, eco-feminism, love poems, the gates to Indian homes, walking, and cooking deliberately.
She received her MFA in Sculpture + Extended Media from the Virginia Commonwealth University and has been a fellow + artist in residence at Shandaken Projects: Storm King, Mildred’s Lane, Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Ox-Bow School of Art, Byrdcliffe at Woodstock, Wormfarm Institute, Yale Norfolk School of Art, Hambidge Center, and ACRE. She is an Assistant Professor of Art at Williams College, and lives/walks in the Berkshires.
She has supported her work through various jobs, projects, spaces, residencies, and schools, including teaching, researching tapestries + stained glass, archiving books, repairing rare and not so rare books, assisting artists, dyeing textiles, designing spaces, designing textiles, hammering gold, buying diamonds, cutting mattes for beautiful frames, sanding many surfaces, designing logos, illustrating articles, cooking, and dressing windows.
Stepahnie J. Woods is a Charlotte NC based artist creating textile, photography, and community-engaged projects. Through the use of symbolic mediums referencing black American culture and the southern experience, her multimedia works examine the cognitive effects of cultural assimilation, and how performance is ingrained in identity.
Woods earned an MFA in Studio Art from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and is currently a Halcyon Arts Lab fellow located in Washington DC. Over the years, Woods has attended several residences; including a seven-month visual artist fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center, ACRE Residency, the McColl Center for Art + Innovation, Oxbow School of Art and Artists’ Residency and Penland School of Crafts. She has also served as faculty at Virginia Commonwealth University, and in 2017 her work was notably recognized by the South Arts Fellowship, and NC. Arts Council Fellowship.
Adia Sykes is a Chicago-based independent curator and arts administrator. Her current research examines the potential of curating as an advocacy tool for racial equity in the arts. Through her practice, she seeks to center philosophies of improvisation and intuition, engaging them as tools by which meaningful relationships between artists and viewers can be cultivated, while leaving space for the vernacular to mingle with constructs of history and theory. Her curatorial projects include Locating Memory (Chicago Mayor’s Office, 2018), Project Radio London (Centro Arte Opificio Siri in Terni, Italy, 2018), and Reclamation: of time, of agency, of narrative (ACRE Projects, 2019). She has also realized projects with the Art Institute of Chicago, Sullivan Galleries, Woman Made Gallery, Material Exhibitions, Roman Susan Gallery, and Comfort Station.
Adia earned a Masters of Arts from the Department of Arts Administration and Policy from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2018) and a BA in Anthropology from the University of Chicago (2016) with a focus on material culture and museums.