On April 19, Telfair Museums will present its newest edition of "Boxed In/Break Out," a rotating series of site-specific installations in the Jepson Center's Barnard Street windows. Ron Longsdorf's “A Sense of Home” will display a variety of literal and metaphorical references to the word “home” and will be on view through Oct. 21.
Longsdorf asked local Savannah/Chatham County residents to submit a photo interpreting their idea of “a sense of home” and incorporated those photos into the installation, lending the project a sense of immediate community.
“I'm a sculptor by trade,” explains Longsdorf. “I've been interested in domestic spaces, architecture and furniture for a little over a decade. I use a visual vocabulary of common construction materials, wood wall studs, polystyrene foam insulation panels, drywall, etc. I use the materials and metaphors of building to talk about our basic experience as humans in our living spaces and relationships that exist or develop within those spaces.
“The 'Boxed In/Break Out' call for entries was approached slightly differently for me than my normal work. It is a very public venue, so the work and the proposal for me became more about the public experience and the collective idea of community. I still wanted to talk about similar ideas I work with, but in a very site specific way in regards to the location of Savannah/Chatham County area.”
“A Sense of Home” is essentially a segmented picket fence spelling out the word “home” spread across four outward facing windows at the Jepson Center with the submitted photos acting as a background. It's a playful way for the artist to explore different concepts of the idea of home.
“Initially I was interested in the idea of fences as superficial ways for us to divide space/land from one another, yet also speak toward the cliché of the American dream of the house with the picket fence,” says Longsdorf. “The concept of 'home' is very universal to people and I wanted to draw our attention to that as a basic human need.
"Included in the installation behind the fencing and roof profile cutouts are a series of photographs submitted by members of the local community. Some of the photos include families who've benefited from the local Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity and their international partner, Habitat for Humanity South Africa.
“Some lumber for the piece was donated by Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity. The lumber and concrete blocks will be donated to Coastal Empire Habitat for Humanity to be used in their next house build once the installation is removed. I want viewers and visitors to get a sense of the range and diverse backgrounds of people and how we are all connected through our needs and experience of 'home.’ What binds us all is our humanity and our need for safe, affordable shelter and to develop and grow our lives and families.”
An artist talk and reception with Longsdorf will be at 6 p.m. April 19.