THOMAS BARGER & CLAIRE MILBRATH | A HOUSE IS NOT A HOME
From June 10 to July 17, 2021.
We often say that the kitchen is the heart of a home, a place for family to gather and be nourished. After returning to her coastal hometown of Victoria, Canada last Fall, Milbrath began a series of kitchen scenes to conjure a better reality for herself. Painting spaces that symbolized stability, feminine strength and family marked a new beginning after tumultuous times.
Barger's paper pulp sculptures exude a quirkiness that goes beyond the utility of the object. With their rounded edges and vibrant vitamin-like colours, one might imagine that the work has been licked into shape, softening it into a giant, delectable treat. The recurrent single hole or perforated pattern in Barger's sculptures holds several significances for the artist, connecting the strictness of his upbringing to sexual expression. For Barger, who was raised on a farm in the American Midwest, working through the symbolism of the chair is also a way of questioning domesticity, religion, hetero-conventions, and queerness in regards to his roots. His sculptures, while retaining some memory of their past lives, project both a simplicity and an inventiveness that reveal Barger's process as clarifying introspection.