Dead Houses: Crafted in Memory of Lost & Destroyed Homes
Sure, some of us ‘love’ our homes … but few of us wonder if a house can ‘die’. There is a fascinating 18th-and-19th-Century tradition of grieving loved by taking and braiding, knitting or otherwise working the hair of the decease into a crafted object to commemorate them – and in similar recent-past traditions, photographs were sometimes taken of their still and lifeless body (shiver).
The artist whose work is featured here plays on these traditions in a strange modern reinterpretation of that practice … only she has created commemorative sculptural objects of abandoned houses as if they were themselves lost souls. In some ways, to their residents, perhaps they are – and certainly their loss can be a great blow to occupants.
The Mourning Portrait series by Loren Schwerd works with photographs of homes flooded, destroyed and otherwise lost to the power of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans. Part wall art and part three-dimensional portraiture, her works are both representative and interpretive – they draw on real imagery but also become abstract objects of craft that reflect their constituent materials, underlying motivations and implied emotions.