Date of this Version
Sheldon Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. June 2004- June 2005.
Sentiment about home as written in this 16th-century quote is strikingly unchanged. Home provides warmth and protection and therefore meets our most basic utilitarian needs. Symbolically, having a home assures one's place in community, establishes social standing and demonstrates status within society. It is a private place where we relax, let down our guard and nurture relationships. Not having a home makes this security and belonging more difficult to obtain. In No Place Like Home artists explore the house and its transformation to home. Reflecting on the public and private aspects of home and homeless life, works in this exhibition reflect on the qualities of home and desire for a sense of home and compel viewers to examine our definition of the two.
Home might simply be a fire on the bare ground, spreading warmth and a sense of protection from nighttime fears as well as a place to eat and sleep. Images such as Fritz Scholder's Indian Encampment after Blakelock remind us of the life of the Plains Indians and their connection with the earth. In this image humans are depicted as small specks against the immense black skies and the bigger world. Ralph Albert Blakelock (1847- 1919), to whom Scholder refers in the title, is known for his dark, romantic landscape paintings. Incidentally, Blakelock painted similar scenes of American Indian tribes in his travels west in 1869.
Some of the first homes built by pioneers in the Midwest were sod houses. The Homestead Act granted property to those willing to settle in a new land and was most utilized in the Plains states where the climate and soil could support farming. By 1880 more than half of the 242,000 new farms in Kansas, Nebraska, the Dakotas and Minnesota were acquired this way.l Solomon Butcher's Hunting Family, Goose Creek depicts the sod house as the center of activity for early homesteaders. When outdoor duties were complete, families gathered under the roof of the "soddie" for sustenance and interaction with one another.