Playful Work by Artist Thomas Willis in Home Depot House at deCordova

This is my third post about deCordova Biennial’s Home Depot House but first to include a direct link to artist John C. Gonzalez’ story of how it came to be. Curating a  series of month-long residencies there by six different artists, John carried out the first one, in early fall.  Now in nearly spring, this final residency offers another fascinating example of how a small basic cabin structure can be transformed by the ideas and materials that each artist brings in. As of March 12 , Home Depot House has become a shop called Retrofit Painting,  conceived, stocked  and managed by artist Thomas Willis. All products displayed in the shop are made of  painter’s canvas but inventively shaped to serve as familiar objects such as a trash basket, bed, tent,  mask, kite or shoe. The artist demonstrates the use of some of these in videos you can view here.

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Visit to Retrofit Painting (Remodeling Canvases for the Future TM In their elegantly crafted canvas aprons, Willis and his sales staff carry handsome handout brochures with photos and  detailed description that spoof  customary product information. The web address in the brochure will take you to the corporation’s website where you can order the products and view instructional videos about some products. The videos and other provocative props  are also on view in the shop.

If you are able to visit Home Depot House on a weekend in March or April, take time to appreciate the functional design of objects in the space. Above all, take the opportunity to talk with the artist about how and why he created Retrofit Paintings. His sense of humor and sense of history certainly helped me enjoy and understand what’s happening there now! If you can’t get there , or if you want to find out more about Thomas Willis, explore his website, rich in rewarding images and documents of events. Two earlier posts about Home Depot House: John Osorio-Buck, Artist with Crickets at Home Depot House Indoors Outdoors: Home Depot House at deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum Update March 17:  John C. Gonzalez shared this link to a video  which adds valuable  background, context and visuals to my understanding of Home Depot House.  Update March 29: Field Day at deCordova , Sunday April 6 , 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.   Activities with Retrofit Painting Thomas Willis - Retrofit Painting

Sunday April 6th 2014, 1-3pm : The 2013 deCordova Biennial Home Depot House (a wooden cabin on the front plaza of the Museum by artist John C. Gonzalez) is currently hosting resident artist Thomas Willis’s “company” Retrofit Painting®. For “Field-Day” Thomas Willis creates products such as a painting tug-of-war, canvas sack race, and more for families to play with together, sponsored by Retrofit Painting®! Come explore all that painting can be. -deCordova.org

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