HOME WORK: An Exhibit of New Work by VisuaLingual

Save the date! We will be hosting an opening reception for HOME WORK: An Exhibit of New Work by VisuaLingual, on Sat 20 Feb, 5-8pm, at the Betts House, the oldest brick house in Ohio still on its original site. Our opening falls right in the middle of the Fine Arts Fund Sampler Weekend, which will be filled with free art events throughout Cincinnati.

We’ve spent a good deal of time extensively exploring our neighborhood of Over-the-Rhine, photographing practically every bit of ornament found on the 19th century architecture. Like a kit of parts, many of these ornaments were configured in different ways on different facades and, when examined closely, a rhythm of patterns starts to become evident when walking down the street.

The photos were then meticulously traced and reconfigured to suit our purposes. You know, like a kit of parts. Now, they’re slowly starting to rematerialize back in the physical world, and you can see some of the same parts repeating in their own, different configurations:

Right now, the only thing that’s finished is the promotional poster, which you should start seeing around town this week. Everything else is in progress, and I hate talking about work that isn’t done, so I won’t just yet. This is our first time developing a “line” based on a single idea, and it’s really a departure for us — the research was deeper and more specific than most of our previous work, and the results will be more interpretive and, I think, less dependent on recognizing our local references.

The Betts House has been part of Cincinnati’s history for over two hundred years. Built in 1804, it is located at 416 Clark St. in the Betts-Longworth Historic District, in the city’s West End. In 1995 the oldest surviving brick building in Cincinnati became the Betts House Research Center, a place dedicated to the study of building materials and traditions.

Probably the most exciting aspect of all this is that the Betts House is far from a white box-type exhibition space, and we’re not exactly gallery artists. We make work for people to live with, and we’ll have an opportunity to display it in a domestic setting — like staging a house, VL-style.

If you’re on Facebook, you can RSVP to our event. The exhibit will be up through Sat 3 Apr and, in the mean time, check out our online shop for our other place-centric work.

UPDATE: Check out the new work in our online shop!

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14 thoughts on “HOME WORK: An Exhibit of New Work by VisuaLingual

  1. Oh, wow. I love seeing the progression from the buildings themselves to your application of the designs. The printed fabric looks great. What are you going to use it for? And what’s that last image? Tile tattoos?

  2. I can’t wait to see the whole thing because what you’ve got already is amazing! Did you find out who the original artists were or what their inspiration was if it was different artists?

  3. The printed fabric will be made into throw pillows and table runners. The last image shows ceramic decals, so the “tile tattoo” comment was a good guess. They will go on serving pieces and small tabletop accessories like salt and pepper shakers. That will be a total experiment for us; cross your fingers that it works!

    Christine, sometimes the name of the craftsman or shop is right on the facade; sometimes not. Most of the work, as far as we can tell, really wasn’t that unique or that custom — you can see the same elements repeat on different buildings. The Germania Building is a really ornate example, and we’ve pulled some elements from its elaborate facade. Most of the buildings in OTR are more modest, and contain only one or a few decorative details, and we’ve combined those in new ways.

    This was a kind of clip art in its day, and that’s essentially how we’re using it now.

  4. Wow! It’s amazing to see how your translating the building details into your own designs. Best of luck, and I can’t wait to see more!

  5. This work will get some interesting comments, I’m sure: I see a Scandinavian influence in your work, although you didn’t mention it in your description. I wonder what that has to do with this project.

  6. You’re absolutely right in recognizing a bit of a folk Scandinavian aesthetic — I think the same could be said for Polish, Russian, German, and even Pennsylvania Dutch. All of our visual research comes from the 19th century architecture in our neighborhood, but we’ve updated and translated the sources into our own, new patterns which I hope are our own spin on contemporary folk.

  7. hey, i discovered your work on a design blog, i don’t remember which, and i just wanted to say that i’m looking forward to see more. i wish i could see this new collection in person, as i’m intrigued by what i see right here.

  8. Oh, my God, this looks beautiful. The photos of your inspiration are really informative in terms of your process, and the glimpse of the finished work looks really good. Hats off..

  9. Pingback: HOME WORK Sneak Peek « Visualingual

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