Andrew Purchin and the Elephant with No Room

Making the Unconscious Visible

The Radius Gallery at the Tannery in Santa Cruz recently hosted a group show entitled “What’s Home” organized by Andrew Purchin. This important and elegant exhibition sought to generate a conversation about one of the biggest problems in Santa Cruz County and beyond: housing. The inspiration for the show came from a painting Purchin did of the homeless encampment in Santa Cruz during the pandemic that went by the name “The Benchlands.” Purchin invited a selection of contemporary artists to create work along this theme.

Take Cover: Linda Cover’s Installation

I had the pleasure to visit the exhibition twice while it was open, and on my second visit I was able to speak with one of the installation artists, Linda Cover. The center of her installation was a series of prints made by artists answering the question: What does home mean to you? The prints featured nature, people, and things they loved. She displayed this elegant collection like freshly laundered garments hanging to dry on a clothes line. She also had a small garden of plants in pots, and a stack of sand bags. This minimalist display elegantly reminded us of the challenges faced by people when they lack one of the basic elements of survival: a home.

Continuing the Conversation

The exhibition is down, but the dialogue continues. Purchin told me that he is submitting one of the films made during the course of the show to a series of festivals, and you can check out the ongoing efforts to keep the discourse vital on the website, HERE: What’s Home

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