Santiago Uceda and Shar Fagersten at the Arts Center

artscenter_anikal_ucedashowThe Arts Center currently has a small show—so small you might miss it on your way to the Main Gallery—but it’s ambitious and elicits big conversations. Through vastly different approaches, Eugene artist Santiago Uceda and OSU graduate Shar Fagersten contemplate images related to our understanding of “home.”

Uceda’s paintings are surreal, suggesting that home isn’t always a physical space, but rather a combination of “emotional attachment…sounds, smells, objects, memories, culture, community.” In this show, Uceda considers his own experiences and sense of belonging by thinking of home as a non-static concept.

Fagersten, on the other hand, has taken simple and beautiful photos of everyday objects found in the home, such as a vase, and captioned them with ideas of what it means to be a woman: “Don’t get fat. A man doesn’t want a fat wife,” for example. Fagersten wanted to know about the advice women have received and, after hundreds of responses, realized that the recommendations have changed very little over the years. According to Fagersten, the same underlying message is still being spread to women: “You’re not acceptable as you are.”

At its core, this show is about identity—how we form our own sense of who we are and where we come from, and how others try to do that for us. Do we feel a sense of connection to the place we live or to the way others see us? Uceda’s idea of home may not be as simple, but his exploration is a strange and satisfying glimpse into the mind of a wanderer. Fagersten’s choice “to photograph common objects that are also overlooked” shows that the meaning behind words is often ignored or so ingrained in us that we don’t notice it at all. Both artists want us to pay attention to the everyday things that shape our lives.

If you like to think about how we take up space—both in our minds and from the perspective of others—this collection is a great place to start.

Advice for Women with Santiago Uceda and Shar Fagersten will be on display in the Corrine Woodman Gallery through Nov. 26. For more information, visit http://theartscenter.net/

By Anika Lautenbach

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