A continuation of an ongoing series, Meetinghouse combines painting, sculpture and drawing in a multi-room installation that explores the liminality of the “meeting house” as a simultaneously public and private sphere.
Meetinghouse presents a collection of objects that reimagines historical artifacts created by the Shakers, a sect of religious radicals who promoted equality for all of its members in colonial America. Coined “shakers” due to their particularly fervent style of dancing, followers congregated in spaces that were sparsely furnished, though each simple chair, stool, or pew was immaculately constructed. Impeccable craftsmanship was a hallmark of the movement’s ethos; work done by hand was felt to have been imbued with God. Cunat’s hand-cut paper sculptures directly reference this process and subvert it: her work purposefully lacks the utility and structure of Shaker design but maintains the same commitment to craft within her unmistakable hand. On a one-to-one scale, Cunat’s rocking chairs, baseboards, and ceiling beams–the quotidian components of Meetinghouse–offer novel ways of turning attention toward the inherent affectation and pretense within organized social space.
As the viewer traverses both the Foyer and Congregation Room, one will be confronted with broad swathes of color, dynamic contours and biomorphic shapes that blanket the surroundings. The texture of Cunat’s work will be pitted against the flatness of the background–creating an environment ripe for visual surprise within this site-specific installation.