Remnants/Remembrance – Whitney Lea Sage

On View: August 12 – October 31, 2021, Muse Gallery

Remnants/Remembrance

The Workhouse Arts Center is proud to present Remnants/Remembrance, a solo exhibition by Whitney Lea Sage. Sage’s work aims to address the history and current struggles of the Rust Belt; the region from New York to the Midwest that was once dominated by manufacturing, now facing deindustrialization, population loss and urban decay. Sage incorporates her personal experiences of growing up in a Rust Belt city in her illustrations by using architecture and the domestic interior of the home to communicate the universal notions of home, loss, and hope.

ARTIST’S STATEMENT

As a native of the suburban Detroit area, the rich cultural heritage of Midwestern cities and their relevance the “American way of life” are things that I’ve always found influential to my artwork as well as inextricably linked to my identity as an artist and image maker. Midwestern cities are places of increasing cultural relevance with parallels to larger American struggles, big industry and suburban migration leaving behind empty storefronts, ghostly architectural skeletons and scarred empty plots of land. Throughout my career I have continually depicted the city as subject matter, not only as a personal crusade for a place I love, but also to create an open dialog about tough histories and the lenses through which communities view each other.

My work, through an expanding range of mediums, aims to address the history and current struggles of rust belt communities and communicate related emotional crises of identity, loss, and homesickness. The imagery employed in my work often focuses on architecture as language for discussing urban history, its current challenges and the hotly contested visions for its future. In attempting to connect viewers of the work to the issues surrounding the city on a personal level, my work often has allusions to the domestic interior of the home as a metaphor for the psychological interior, the root of emotional longing and nostalgia for place. While my practice is rooted in a deeply personal experience growing up in a rust belt city, the work seeks to appeal to many through universal notions of home, loss, hope and the protective impulse that we share for the people and places we love.

For purchase inquiries, please contact Gallery Manager, Audrey Miller at audreymiller@workhousearts.org or (703) 584-2911.

Portraits of Home Series

Portraits of Home Series is an ongoing series of small oval ink on aquabord panel paintings. An offshoot of Homesickness Series, the series is a study of the connections between architecture and portraiture and the connections between the homes of a city and the individual human stories they contained. Each individual work is a portrait of an endangered or lost home within the cities of Detroit and Highland Park, and serves to memorialize threatened histories or serve as stark reminders of the absence left behind by the physical erasure of markers of history in the name of blight removal or gentrification. Through a focus on specific domestic spaces and lots, the series connects to the experience of individual people and families who occupied each site, exploring connections between identity and the role that home and memory play in its formation. The series is continually expanding-eventually the large scope of the project will be representative of the large scale of abandonment, blight and destruction being experienced within the region’s once densely populated neighborhoods.

39 Rhode Island Street, Portraits of Home Series 

2021

Ink on aquabord

5″ x 7″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $65

80 California Street, Portraits of Home Series 

2021

Ink on aquabord

5″ x 7″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $65

4854 Springer Street, Portraits of Home Series 

2019

Ink on aquabord

5″ x 7″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $65

427 S. Crossley Street, Portraits of Home Series 

2019

Ink on aquabord

5″ x 7″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $65

2994 Lakeview Street, Portraits of Home Series 

2021

Ink on aquabord

5″ x 7″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $65

3859 Manistique Street, Portraits of Home Series 

2019

Ink on aquabord

5″ x 7″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $65

4726 Springle Street, Portraits of Home Series 

2018

Ink on aquabord

5″ x 7″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $65

352 Pasadena Street, Portraits of Home Series 

2018

Ink on aquabord

5″ x 7″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $65

91 Elmhurst Street, Portraits of Home Series

2021

Ink on aquabord

5″ x 7″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $65

1616 Gray Street, Portraits of Home Series 

2018

Ink on aquabord

5″ x 7″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $65

190 Avalon Street, Portraits of Home Series 

2018

Ink on aquabord

5″ x 7″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $65

Homesickness Series

Homesickness Series is a series of monochromatic ink paintings on paper that addresses universal issues of loss as related to our relationship with home and the individual and collective stories lost in the life cycles of urban degradation. Through the evocation of the image of the home and tin type photographs, the paintings play off issues of psychological loss as related to memory and leaving home, and the nostalgic longing that our separation with our primal “home” and the objects within it creates.

Recession, Homesickness Series

2020

Ink on paper

13.5″ x 25″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $250

Neighbors, Homesickness Series

2018

Ink on paper

13.5″ x 17.25″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $250

White Picket Fence, Homesickness Series

2017

Ink on paper

13.5″ x 17″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $250

Cottage, Homesickness Series

2017

Ink on paper

13.5″ x 17″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $250

Foundation, Homesickness Series

2017

Ink on paper

13.5″ x 16.5″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $250

Single Family Home, Homesickness Series

2017

Ink on paper

13.5″ x 15.5″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $250

Threshold, Homesickness Series

2018

Ink on paper

11″ x 11″

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $150

Family Room, Homesickness Series

2017

Ink on paper

13.5″ x 11″ 

Signed, editioned giclee prints available for $150

Domestic Fragments Series

Domestic Fragments Seriesaddresses universal issues of loss as related to our relationship with home and the individual and collective stories lost in the life cycles of urban degradation. Through the evocation of the domestic object, the works play off issues of psychological loss as related to memory and leaving home, and the nostalgic longing that our separation with our primal “home” and the objects within it creates. Through means of display, the objects are meant to function in conversation with Homesickness Series as domestic “artifacts” representing the loss of the home, the loss of people and the related loss of memory. Combining disparate fragments of domesticity, parts of toys, dishes, photos, tools, bricks, linens, etc., these artifacts are familiar, yet appear foreign. Within each assemblage object the domestic fragments morph and disappear into abstracted plaster geological forms; the objects are visually present yet seem physically absent and inaccessible. While these displayed objects relate the collection of mementos as attempts to hold on to memories and connections with place, the idea of the artifact also relates to common depictions of post-industrial cities as abandoned “blank slates” open for reinvention while failing to recognize or take into consideration the histories and communities that still remain.

Domestic Fragments

2017-2019

Plaster and found objects

NFS

Domestic Fragments

2017-2019

Plaster and found objects

NFS

Domestic Fragments

2017-2019

Plaster and found objects

NFS

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