-An art exhbit by Caren Stansell

“The idea of home is repeated throughout our lives as an innate instinct that dwells in us all. As an adult, home is a daily sought shelter and a place of ritual. It also becomes an arcane instinct to recreate the nostalgia of the first home experienced as a child. With that in mind, the definition of home has evolved as my path has led me back full circle; no longer a child but as a mother. The dichotomy that once existed for me is still present. The precarious nature of the family dynamic holds inherent qualities of deteriorating health, habits, and strained lines of communication.

This body of work explores ever evolving relationships that occur within a home. I have incorporated images of dwellings in various states of disrepair that convey the rebuilding of breakdown of these familial relationships. The deteriorating nature of these man-made structures symbolizes the nostalgic need to recreate a place to which one can never return; our first home. Printed matter and sculptural forms cohabitate the gallery space to bring confluence to my perception of house and home.”

— Caren Stansell

On August 25th, 2016, I had both the pleasure and opportunity of attending "Home Is Where The Heart Is..." a provocative art exhibit showcasing some of the pieces constructed by the talented Caren Stansell; an artist that works, lives and creates in upstate South Carolina. This particular body of work focused on almost every facet of home life; whether it be positive or negative. Smoking was a destructive habit that seems to be prevalent in her childhood, because the majority the pieces featured in #HomeIsWhereTheHeartIs were created with tobacco and cigarette butts, as opposed to paint and brush... genius, in my opinion. In my discussion with Ms. Stansell, it was very intriguing to learn what her process was in the creation of this exhibit. Everything that was used, from the portraits to the actual medium had something to do with home life; her home life to be specific. Each piece exuded a certain amount of pain and struggle, which to me, made it that much more beautiful.

Caren Stansell, speaking on her artwork; titled "Lung".

Caren Stansell, speaking on her artwork; titled "Lung".

Many of the distorted photographs of destructive memories and strained relationships truly resonated with me. In experiencing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, I understand the toll that stress can take on one both physically and mentally. Paper Plane Gallery, a new art gallery located in the heart of historic College Park, served as the primary lodging. It is an exhibition space focusing on new American works on paper, printmaking, and artists' books. The intimate space was the perfect setting for an exhibit that held so much emotion. This exhibit was very diverse in the turnout, with people from all ages and walks of life in attendance.

All in all, it was a very enjoyable and educational experience, and I would recommend anyone to attend. If you haven't already, check out Ms. Stansell's "Home Is Where The Heart Is" art exhibit at the Paper Plane Gallery in College Park, GA. The exhibit will be on display until October 6, so you all still have a little bit of time to view. You can get more information on this at www.paperplaneatl.com. Below are some of the pieces on display from the exhibit.

Be safe, and enjoy your weekend.

- Oak (@coolhandoak)

The recently opened Paper Plane Gallery, located in College Park; a subdivision of Atlanta.

The recently opened Paper Plane Gallery, located in College Park; a subdivision of Atlanta.

If you want to find more of Caren Stansell's work, check out her websiteFacebook, or Instagram.