Dwelling: Experiences of Shelter

March 27-September 4, 2021

About the Exhibition

As early as first century wall paintings of domestic scenes in the homes of Pompeii, Italy, buried and preserved by the volcanic eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 CE, artists have explored the subjects of houses and homes, interiors and exteriors. Throughout the Renaissance and the Dutch Baroque, American Realism and French Impressionism, and continuing in our era, artists have illustrated the human relationship with shelter and where one dwells. An impact of the COVID-19 experience is a reexamination and new awareness of that relationship, both our own and those around us. 

This exhibition reveals depictions of houses, architecture, and rooms created well before the COVID-19 coronavirus spread throughout the world. As such, we see these artworks in both past and new contexts, allowing them to recall another time and to speak anew of our time. Viewing these works through the lens of time, invites us to consider the past, present, and future, and to imagine new ways to cope, help, and renew. 

It has been said that humans can survive for three minutes without air, three hours without shelter in a harsh environment, three days without water, and three weeks without food. Most people are aware of their needs for air, food, and water, but may not realize where shelter ranks within those needs. Yet, when it becomes necessary for us to shelter at home, we may begin to feel a new kind of stress or in some cases fear or claustrophobia. Contained in our homes, how will our relationships with each other, the government, employers, restaurants, and other services be changed, and for how long? My hope is that viewing these artworks will invite people to ponder the past, the present, and the future while imagining new ways to positively cope with these changes, beyond fear or worry.  

Danny Bills, WFMA Curator of Collections and Exhibitions


Dwelling: Recent Works from Jessica Calderwood


In her figurative work prior to the pandemic, on view earlier this year at the MSU Juanita Harvey Art Gallery, Indiana artist Jessica Calderwood says that she censors or denies parts of the body to make the figures anonymous, so people may relate to them. The figures’ gestures, mostly visible in legs and torsos, convey varied emotional states. In her new work for the WFMA, Calderwood says the partial figures have evolved and now communicate protection, hiding, or retreating in a domestic space and an inner world. She displays the sculptures on large circular domes that hang from the ceiling, describing them as “floating worlds representing the separation we’ve all experienced.”

Image: Installation view with   Hide   in the foreground.

Story Wall: Sense of Place

Contributions to the Story Wall

The WFMA is collecting stories that document your   sense of place  during time spent at home in the now year-long pandemic. We all experienced the city-wide shelter-in-place in late March and April of 2020, and maybe you have since been quarantined with COVID-19 infection or exposure. Maybe your employer required you to work from home, you were furloughed or lost your job, your school closed, or you decided to stay close to home for safety. There are many reasons we have all relied on our homes in a new way.  

What has your home meant to you during this time? 

Has your view of time spent at home changed, and how? 

We hope this exhibition offers a place where visitors can take time to reflect on what we’ve been through. In the exhibition is a story wall, where visitors can write or draw their stories about home and share them with others.

Become a pen pal with the WFMA

Send us a letter or email sharing a story or drawing about your experience of home, and we will write you back.

Mailing address: 2 Eureka Circle, Wichita Falls, TX 76309
Email: wfma@msutexas.edu


Storytelling Series

Need help crafting your story? Interested in recording it for Story Corps? Join us in June for a Storytelling Series! We are partnering with the Arts Council of Wichita Falls and Sounds of the Speedway to bring a Texas storyteller for a performance and workshop, leading to an audio recording that will be submitted to Story Corps.

Update:   Listen to the stories  on StoryCorps!

Hear artists tell their stories

Join us April 15 at 6 pm for an   Artist’s Talk  with Jessica Calderwood, Karsten Creightney, and Elizabeth Yarosz-Ash. Details on the   Event page.