Ruby Grantee Marian April Glebes featured in BmoreArt


Three Sheds for Three Sites
by Amber Eve Anderson
Published August 4, 2016 in BmoreArt

Marian April Glebes at the BMA, Loading Dock, and Sondheim Semi-Finalists Exhibit

Home, museum, salvaged material re-use center—these are the sites and subjects of Marian April Glebes’ Three Sheds for Three Sites, a triptych of sculptures that explores concepts of mobility and preservation through curated objects in three locations.

“Shed I: Home Shed” is located at the Baltimore Museum of Art where, according to the parenthetical title of the piece, it “performs the functions of home.” “Shed II: Museum Shed” is at the Loading Dock, a salvage material re-use center that partnered with the artist for the piece, where it performs the functions of the museum. The final part, “Shed III: Collection Shed,” is typically located in the artist’s own home but was on view as part of the Sondheim Semi-finalists exhibition at Decker Gallery on MICA’s campus until the end of the July.

A shed is a simple structure whose clear purpose is to store materials, while the home, the museum, and the collection encompass much more abstract notions of functionality, each with its own impetus for preservation and longevity. The titles reiterate the performative and functional aspects of each of the three sheds—each one performing a particular function—giving the work a sort of fluid agency. The fact that each piece is mobile—built on wheels or sitting on top of a pallet jack—reiterates this idea of changeability.

Wheels suggest transience, movement, and lack of permanence. From the personal to the institutional, each shed poses the question: what is worth preserving?

Glebes is a conceptual, multidisciplinary artist whose work addresses materiality and the home in the context of urban environments and one’s relationship with place. At the BMA, “Shed I: Home Shed,” a modular, three-panel piece, sits in the center of a room as part of the Imagining Home exhibition. The structure indicates the potential to collapse and unfold, housing within it all of the elements necessary for a fully functioning home: two folding chairs and a murphy table, a floor lamp fitted into one wall, bookshelves, cupboards, pillows stuffed into a narrow cubby, a shower curtain, a broom and even a house plant, everything painted entirely white.

The uniform white surfaces erase the particularities of any specific home, leaving the non-descript objects to illustrate the functions of a universal home: a utilitarian space for sleeping, cooking, eating and cleaning. The piece recalls the functions of a hotel room more than it does a personal home. In a world in which people move further away and more frequently than ever before, putting down roots is an obstacle. By using the term home as opposed to the word house, the artist suggests that home is a formula for activities.

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