'House Guests: Subjective Truths': Works by Evergreen's 2004
By Abby Lattes
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
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
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