13 January 2012
A House Obsession
Since our move 18 months ago, I've acquired a strange fascination: houses. I'm not talking about the insides and outsides of houses (that's a well-recognized, longtime full-on compulsion) - I'm talking about the house as icon. The house as art. Its shape, its form, represented as an image.
I dwell on art that has a house as its subject. Not a pretty house that is depicted because it's a pretty house, but a shape or image that stands for a sense of something. Maybe a sense of place or a sense of longing or a sense of belonging or a sense of expression gone wild. Or maybe a sense of understated comfort.
I tear out magazine pages that feature interesting representations of houses, I draw houses, I buy art supplies that imply by their packaging that I can create a house. I also take pictures of interesting houses. And again, not pretty houses but intriguing houses. Houses that have a personality and make a statement about what they do with their footprint. Even just pieces of houses will grab my attention - because they say something about their owner's feelings about their home; how do they identify their home, how do they get to it, how do they enter it, how do they relax in it, how do they welcome people to it?
The urge to collect these images is strong enough to warrant some analysis. Why do I do this? Here are some theories:
1. I had to leave the house I loved, the gray one with purple trim, in Minneapolis.
2. I was homeless and lived in a hotel while I waited for my new home.
3. Although beautiful by many people's standards, my new house is boring and makes no statement.
4. I wonder about the definition of home as I move my family from house to house.
5. A new house is never a home because it can't speak for you yet. Give it time.
Interesting, no? Feel free to channel your inner Freud and offer your own theories.
Here's a glimpse at my obsession/collection (I use the term "collection" loosely; as in please don't gift me a bunch of house tchochkes. Obsession is much better; I don't have a clear understanding of what drives this so your lovely house tchochke may not fall into the groove of obsession.......and I wouldn't have the foggiest idea why. I'm so weird.):