There’s no place like home Niomi Fawn’s new in­stal­la­tion

Pasatiempo - - ON THE COVER - Wild Home, shin­rin-yoku Wild Home, Wild Home Wild Home,

Dystopian films like Lo­gan’s Run (1976) and the more re­cent I Am Le­gend (2007) of­fer a glimpse of a world in which na­ture has taken over. Sin­u­ous vines and car­pets of moss en­velop crum­bling build­ings and homes. Wild an­i­mals roam freely through aban­doned ur­ban streets as edenic land­scapes re­claim the pavement. But in artist Niomi Fawn’s a site-spe­cific in­stal­la­tion at No Land, the nat­u­ral world and an in­te­rior do­mes­tic en­vi­ron­ment ap­pear to bal­ance each an­other. Na­ture doesn’t seem to in­trude on the do­mes­tic set­ting so much as it ap­pears to merge with it, as though the two di­a­met­ri­cally op­posed set­tings were in­te­grated into one. Im­mersed in a viewer also has the im­pres­sion of hav­ing en­tered a lim­i­nal space along the thresh­old be­tween dream and re­al­ity. “There’s no par­adise ‘out there,’ ” said Fawn, who sees the in­stal­la­tion as an ex­ten­sion of self­hood. “I am the par­adise by choos­ing what I think about and what I sur­round my­self with. I’m tired of be­ing told that par­adise or hap­pi­ness lies out­side of my per­son­hood.”

Fawn, who iden­ti­fies as non­bi­nary and uses the pro­noun “they,” has spent the last sev­eral years pro­mot­ing the work of other artists through the pro­gram Cu­rate Santa Fe, which mounts shows by emerg­ing lo­cal artists at venues across town. “I re­ally like help­ing other peo­ple,” they said. “It’s like com­mu­nity ser­vice to cu­rate in the way I have.” But Fawn, who did mount a show of their own work at Bet­ter­day Cof­fee last year, had mostly got­ten away from their own artis­tic prac­tice. Fawn was among the first peo­ple the Strangers Col­lec­tive ap­proached about doing a show at No Land when the col­lec­tive’s art space opened in early 2017. The pos­si­bil­ity of mount­ing an in­stal­la­tion rep­re­sented an op­por­tu­nity for the hands-on artis­tic en­gage­ment and stu­dio prac­tice Fawn’s other ac­tiv­i­ties rarely al­lowed time for any­more.

A year in the mak­ing, de­vel­oped in the ab­sence of Fawn’s wife, who was de­ployed over­seas in the mil­i­tary. “I was so des­per­ate to feel this sense of home. She was in Africa, right above So­ma­lia and across from Ye­men. It took a long time to fig­ure out when she was com­ing home. She kept get­ting de­layed over and over again. I kept hav­ing this thing about home­com­ing and what it means to come home. Then she came home and it was awe­some, but there was some­thing that was in­com­plete about it. That com­ple­tion for me was about com­ing home to my­self.”

Home can be wher­ever you might hap­pen to find your­self, whether in­doors or out, even though we tend to re­gard a home as a dwelling with four walls and a roof. The in­ter­min­gling of a do­mes­tic in­te­rior with the or­ganic world sug­gests that the for­est, too, can be home. While cre­at­ing Fawn was in­spired by the prac­tice of for­est bathing, or

in Ja­panese, which is sim­ply about be­ing im­mersed in na­ture and con­nect­ing with it through all of the senses. There is ev­i­dence that for­est bathing has mea­sur­able health ben­e­fits, par­tic­u­larly for the im­mune sys­tem.

In­side the in­stal­la­tion, round din­ner plates are mounted on the walls, not un­like the kinds of col­lec­tors’ plates peo­ple dis­play as part of their home decor. The dif­fer­ence is that the plates bear vivid im­agery of flora and fauna — a coil­ing snake and a stately raven are si­t­u­ated amid in­tri­cately de­tailed flo­ral blos­soms. Tree limbs twine along the walls. A hol­lowed-out tree

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