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The newspaper of The Johns Hopkins University October 3, 2005 | Vol. 35 No. 5
'House Guests: Subjective Truths': Works by Evergreen's 2004 Artist-in-Residence

By Abby Lattes
Historic Houses

Every year, Evergreen House offers a two-month summer residency to a visual artist living outside Maryland. The program provides housing, a studio, a stipend and complete access to Evergreen, allowing the artist the opportunity to produce new work in response to the collections, home and history of the Garrett family, its former residents. Says Evergreen curator Jackie O'Regan, "The residency celebrates and continues the Garrett family's legacy as collectors and patrons of the arts who hosted many artists and musicians at Evergreen during the first half of the 20th century."

As artist-in-residence in 2004, photographer and architect Mehmet Dogu explored Evergreen inside and out. He examined the carpets, analyzed the architecture, observed the placement of objects, studied the books in the library, read about the Garrett family and then meditated on all this information before creating new works of art to express the "truths" he discovered.

This work is the subject of House Guests: Subjective Truths, an exhibit that opens at Evergreen with a reception from 5 to 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7, and continues through Jan. 3. Dogu will lead an exhibition tour and give a gallery talk at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8.

Charles Reeve, from the Ontario College of Art and Design, imagines Dogu's creative process in the exhibition catalog's essay, asking, "Is it OK for us to enter the Garretts' living room, inspect their furniture, enjoy their art and admire their books? Won't they return soon? These carpets look expensive — should we remove our shoes? The tension behind these questions lingers in Evergreen House, even though the Garretts have not resided there for decades, because houses take their personalities partly from their inhabitants."

Dogu, Reeve says, uses photography to illuminate and isolate the details of the Garretts' home and lives and then creates his own "truths" about the family and Evergreen House by juxtaposing, manipulating and editing the images.

Dogu's six installations are exhibited throughout the first floor of the Main House and in the North Wing and focus on facets of the Garretts' vast art collections and interests and his own heritage.

In Rug, for example, Dogu responds to the more than 125 Middle Eastern carpets in the house and his own Middle Eastern heritage through the creation of a photographic carpet. The work's outer ring is composed of images from Evergreen's gardens, a smaller ring is made from images of Evergreen's exterior views, and the innermost ring is made of 48 composite images of Evergreen's interior spaces.

Dogu lives in Phoenix, Ariz., and has exhibited his work extensively throughout the United States, Germany and Turkey.


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