"Actually, I'm from the suburbs; I just say DC because it's easier"
an installation by Aaron Maier-Carretero with work by Art Enables artists Michael Haynes, Paul Lewis, Raymond Lewis,
Max Poznerzon, and Nonja Tiller
May 8 - August 28, 2021
Public Gallery Hours: Saturdays, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. and Thursdays, 5 - 7 p.m.
In casual conversation, claiming a well-known city as your hometown rather than one of its suburbs can be more expedient than the granular truth. It can also imply the discomfort of being associated with a generic place, the notion of it being "easier to explain," almost an apology for a small lie. Aaron Maier-Carretero is interested in these subtleties. His experience growing up was shaped around the idea that the "American dream" was built in the suburbs. To hold on to that dream, one had to embrace both its pleasantries and a more insidious culture shaped by whiteness and patriarchy: protecting and reinforcing racism and gender roles, hiding violence, and erasing or tokenizing other cultures.
The private spaces of suburban homes can shelter both familial love and the dysfunction and violence of individual families and society at large. In Maier-Carretero's work, moments of tenderness co-exist with tension and unease. In "Waltzing with Bears," a father holds his young son in his arms, singing sweetly to him in the darkness of a child's bedroom. In sharp contrast, bright light from the hallway illuminates the bedroom door, where two indentations have been punched into its surface. For Maier-Carretero, these complexities are inherently and compellingly human. The latent and overt expressions of value in the places we live – both positive and negative – form stories that transcend the suburban landscape and speak to a broader American experience.
This installation invites viewers to explore a family home formed from a collage of physical objects and illustrated elements by Maier-Carretero and Art Enables resident artists Michael Haynes, Paul Lewis, Raymond Lewis, Max Poznerzon, and Nonja Tiller. Actual pieces of furniture co-exist with household items drawn on paper or directly on the flat surfaces of the floor and walls. Maier-Carretero's paintings on canvas present multifaceted scenes of domestic life along with works on paper by Art Enables artists that stand in for family photos and other household ephemera. Spaces and divisions are concrete and illusory – indicated alternately by actual walls, suggestions rendered in graphite lines, and even our own memories and expectations.
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"Actually, I'm from the suburbs..." reviewed in the Washington City Paper
House painting based on Michael Haynes' House, 2019;
enlarged and traced in ink by Aaron Maier-Carretero, approx 8 x 11 ft.
Installation views including work by Max Poznerzon, Raymond Lewis, Aaron Maier-Carretero, Paul Lewis, and Nonja Tiller
Chair, TV, TV stand, plants and lamp wall drawing based on Max Poznerzon's My Living Room, 2017and window with curtains wall drawingbased on Raymond Lewis' Window, 2021enlarged and traced in graphite by Aaron Maier-Carretero
Installation view, left to right:
Nonja Tiller, Fish Bowl, 2021 (below)
book shelf wall drawing based on Nonja Tiller's Book Shelf, 2021; enlarged and traced in graphite by Aaron Maier-Carretero
Aaron Maier Carretero, martin and rita, 2021 (below)
couch wall drawing based on Nonja Tiller's Couch, 2021; enlarged and traced in graphite by Aaron Maier-Carretro
Nonja Tiller, My Childhood Memory, 2018 (below)
Installation view, left to right:Paul Lewis, Sculpture, 2018 (below)bed and nightstand graphite wall drawing by Aaron Maier-Carreterotrucks, buses, and cowboy by Michael Haynes (below)Aaron Maier-Carretero, waltzing with bears, 2020 (below)
Installation view with graphite wall drawing by Aaron Maier-Carretero
About the artists:
Aaron Maier-Carretero creates narrative paintings that use the visual language of caricature and cartoons to better understand his connection to Latinidad, whiteness, Jewishness and maleness. He works from memories, personal photographs and journals to make paintings that critically examine the way in which he and his family have bought into an American belief that to be white (or closer to it) is to be more important, more beautiful, more worthy of love. His goal is to expose and challenge problems such as domestic violence, physical abuse, racism, and self-hatred that proliferate unchecked for generations behind the carefully constructed façade of suburbia.
Michael Haynes is a life-long Washingtonian and a free and enthusiastic spirit. His work frequently focuses on his love of all transportation modes, which is reflected in his creative layered collage technique. Michael likes to hand-build his creations to bring a three-dimensional element to his work. When Michael is not busy recreating buses and ambulances (his favorites), he enjoys watching Pixar movies and playing music.
Paul Lewis draws as easily and as rhythmically as most people breathe. He is equally at home in acrylic, watercolor, or oil pastel and prefers strong color and line work to create form and texture. He takes inspiration from pop culture, sports, and current events. Paul is incredibly prolific in his practice, and has been making work at Art Enables since 2002.
Raymond Lewis, with his gentle and kind demeanor, creates pieces of art that are full of movement, life, and detail. His work is wide-ranging, featuring subjects such as sweeping landscapes, unbridled wildlife, and portraits of people, both known and unknown. He draws inspiration from the world around him and from his love of comic books and graphic novels. Like Raymond himself, his work can be subtle and soft-spoken, with a lot going on beneath the surface.
Max Poznerzon likes to think of himself as an outlaw, cowboy, and rock-and-roller, but his wry smile and playful spirit gives way to his good natured, gentle soul. He loves depicting joyous beach and nature scenes as much as he does motorcycles, electric guitars, and cowboy boots. Max takes his artwork seriously and carefully considers detail and story.
Nonja Tiller brings her intricate creations to life through her character and narrative-driven artwork. Nonja’s work often tells multiple stories at once. The absurdity of the human condition, whimsy of the animal kingdom, and the dangers of society are all targets for her keen sense of humor and detail. There are often surprises in the least likely places. Nonja is exceptionally driven and works to improve her style of work constantly. Markers are Nonja’s primary medium.
Click here to learn more about Michael, Paul, Raymond, Max, Nonja and other Art Enables resident artists.