|I Keep Telling Myself by Natalie Schmidt Dotzauer
|Open for Wenatchee First Fridays,
March 7 - 28
and during building hours
Natalie Schmidt Dotzauer: Romanced
In "Romanced," I experiment with the idea of the classic front porch in American popular culture, presenting viewers with the experience of various aspects of porch life. Delicate paper afghan blankets hang from the walls like those of her grandmother's house telling the back-story of Romanced. Fragments of this classic American meeting space are placed throughout the gallery allowing viewers to sit, ponder, and chat.
I've lived in and roamed around old homes for the past 15 years. The construction of what makes a house and where people live drives the work I create. It's seems there is a strange nostalgia for old homes and structures. It may be that we have a short history out West that drives meaning into objects and materials. For instance, one selling point to the old home I live in now was the square nails and unfinished shiplap siding in the attic. I have stacks of old lumber stored around my house. I've pulled old wood from Dumpsters and scrap piles, and neatly save almost everything removed from my old house. I am the worst kind of romantic nerd for an era of time that I was not remotely involved in.
I love single paned windows, squeaky floors, and paint peeling wood. I do not love the reality of heating drafty homes, and keeping them clean when lead paint chips away each time I mop.
Houses have appeal and value depending on the circumstances of interest. The ideas of a "classic craftsman home," or "ruff cut 2x4 lumber," are part of a time where those resources have been exhausted. It may be that we value rare materials or that we love the narrative of that building material; it may also be that the psychology of old materials connects to an unquantifiable emotional level. Our dwellings seem to develop narratives in our lives just as much as we can define the space occupied.
"Romanced" has the experience of the front porch living on display for viewer interaction and contemplation. Certain elements of this space have been distilled into their primary function and materials. I am curious about the moment when a fragment of the home becomes a recalled memory and when an action of dwelling becomes a cue for emotion.
What is left from the home when it is gone? How can its value retain a foothold in our neighborhoods? What holds that value? I am ever curious about how we can invent worthiness in structures and condemn others to the landfill. The front porch is the paper moon in this stage set for nostalgia.
Natalie Schmidt Dotzauer received her BA in arts at Central Washington University, her MFA at California College of the Arts and has attended Penland School of Craft in wallpaper design. She moved to Thorp, Washington, where she and her husband are currently restoring an historic building. Schmidt Dotzauer teaches at Central Washington University and Yakima Community College. She taught at Wenatchee Valley College in 2004 and 2005, and plans to return to WVC this year. Her work has shown widely throughout the region, including a solo exhibition in January at Punch Gallery, Seattle.
Wenatchee Valley College Music and Art Center
1300 Fifth Street, Wenatchee, WA 98801