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Heather O'Hara
Domestic Landscapes
December, 2007

The inspiration for Domestic Landscapes came from the view of the land below as an airplane carried me from Pennsylvania to New Mexico. In the perfect agricultural grid blanketing the country, I saw a pattern of land use that I had not imagined when driving across the same land a few months before. I found the repetition of squares and circles fascinating both for its surreal beauty and for the environmental change that it signified. Most of all, I saw in that domestic pattern covering the land a distinct similarity to the quilts my grandmother handed down to me that cover my furniture at home.

Domestic Landscapes is a series of printed and assembled images that illustrates the similarity between patterns of human habitation and the patterns that decorate our habitations. The installation traces the repetition of a cycle of migration, violence, and settlement that patterns American history and leaves a visible record on our surroundings.  

As we move, conquer, and resettle, we alter the land and our dwellings to adapt to new climates, but we also alter the climate to maintain a comfortable version of land and personal space. By bringing the exterior inside and the interior outside, the images in Domestic Landscapes blur the boundary between personal and national domestic territory, and interchange the view from 30,000 ft. with the view from across the kitchen table.

I printed the images and fabric pieces in Domestic Landscapes by hand in multiple color layers from lithography stones. Using an acid biting technique, I altered the surface of the stone during printing to create fluid textures mimicking the erosion, weathering, and cultivation of land. I then cut and assembled the printed fabric and paper to form quilts that tell stories of the patterns of personal and public domestic landscaping.
 

Domestic Pattern—Farmland
Color lithograph 22” x 30”, 
2007 

Flight Patterens
78” x 78”

Dry River Bed
Quilted Lithographs on fabric,   7’ x 6’, 2007

Settled Area
Quilted Lithographs on fabric,  65" x 75",  2007

Migration
Lithograph, 15" x 20",  2007

 

 

Installation View

Stratification
 Installation View, ceramic, mixed media, 2007

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