In and Out of Place
February 16 – July 31, 2019
“A place belongs forever to whoever claims it hardest, remembers it most obsessively, wrenches it from itself, shapes it, renders it, loves it so radically that he remakes it in his own image.” Joan Didion,
The White Album, 1979
What is place? Is it a set of discrete coordinates fixed in space or something less concrete, something harder to define? Drawn from the Addison’s rich holdings of American art from the colonial era to the present, this exhibition endeavors to investigate the nuanced and varied physical and human characteristics that set place apart from mere location. Divided into three salient categories: nature, home, and city, the works on view demonstrate the ways in which our individual, subjective notions of place are fundamentally shaped by visual imagery. A cozy hearth and a warm fire, throngs of people on a congested sidewalk, lofty mountain peaks reflected in crystal clear water—themes repeated across centuries of paintings, prints, photographs, drawings, watercolors, and sculptures—conjure images both vivid and visceral. While perhaps representative of a specific home, city, or site in nature, the signifiers of place on view in these galleries transcend the particular to appeal to the universal.