Talking Heads: Anna MacLellan on "Welcome Home"

In advance of what is sure to be a sensory delight for nostalgic spectators, SAD Mag's Helen Wong spoke with artist Anna MacLellan about Welcome Homea mixed media installation which opens for viewing June 17, 2016 at Untitled Art Space.


SM: Congratulations on your solo show at Untitled! Can you elaborate more on the theme of domesticity and intimacy prevalent in the show?

AM: To me, home and everything in it is integral to my world. I see this show as a self portrait in a way. Entering someone's home creates a sense of intimacy as you're experiencing where and how they live. I want to share my experience of home with viewers while allowing them to bring with them their own lived experience of home.

SM: You use assemblage, installation and mixed media in your works—how do you create these arrangements?

AM: I'm always unconsciously looking for odd objects of interest sometimes without knowing what their final use will be. One of my processes is creating final projects from a pile of items by assembling and seeing how they interact with each other. I move them around, take out pieces and add others in until it feels right. Sometimes I work the other way and have the concept first and then seek out the perfect items to bring it to life.

Detail from Welcome Home by Anna MacLellan, photo by Lauren D. Zbarsky.

Detail from Welcome Home by Anna MacLellan, photo by Lauren D. Zbarsky.

SM: Welcome Home creates questions about the home and its interior. How do you grapple with this juxtaposition between exterior and interior?

AM: I consider my home to be a safe haven from the world. There's an immediate change in my environment when I walk through the front door. Feelings of comfort and calm created by surroundings particular to my concept of what a home should consist of.

SM: We are normally taught not to touch artwork as it is typically reserved for a certain elite audience. So by stressing the importance of interaction in your works, do you aim to subvert this notion of high art?

AM: I'm not necessarily trying to make a statement about high art with this show but I do want to break the rules and encourage viewers to interact with art in a way that isn't often permitted. I aim to allow each viewer to perceive the work freely and have their own unique individual experience apart from any preconceived notion or statement.

Detail from Welcome Home by Anna MacLellan, photo by Lauren D. Zbarsky.

Detail from Welcome Home by Anna MacLellan, photo by Lauren D. Zbarsky.

SM: I've drawn a parallel of your work to Judy Chicagos and Miriam Schapiros "Womanhouse". Who have been some of your influences?

AM: An artist that's been an influence for my work from a very young age is Joseph Cornell. I've always felt very connected to his work because of both our aesthetic sensibilities and concepts.

SM: I hear you're adding a toaster oven and cookie dough to your show, what else can viewers expect?

To be simultaneously comfortable and surprised.