Island: large-scale photographic works by Ian Strange convey dark undertones

Island by photographer Ian Strange approaches the iconic symbol of the suburban home through the metaphor of the desert island — a place of refuge, protection and personal sovereignty, but simultaneously entrapment and isolation – offering an unsettling look at our deep psychological relationship with the places we live.

Strange’s fascination with our homes has been a focus of his practice for many years. Working with the foreclosed houses of America, historic buildings in an economically stagnant Poland and Christchurch’s earthquake-ravaged homes – Strange explores 'home' as a universal ideal.

For his second solo exhibition in New York, the Australian photographer presents three new large photographic works documenting interventions directly undertaken onto foreclose homes, which, from the outside, perfectly embody the ideal of the suburban dream.

By painting the words “SOS”, “Run” and “Help” in giant lettering on these buildings, Strange exposes the darker truth belying their perfect exteriors.

The large-scale photographs are presented alongside wooden sculptural works of a now demolished home; artefacts retrieved from inside the homes; found photographs — some of which Strange has marked with ink and paint — and drawings that he created in the development of the project.

These powerful statements point to the inherent instability of the home that much of Strange’s work reveals. The values of family, community and safety are built into the architecture of the suburban home, yet Strange highlights how, for many, that’s intrinsically fragile or entirely false.

ISLAND runs until 16 December 2017 at 149 West 14th Street, NYC. All images courtesy of Common State and the photographer.


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