OUTSIDE IN features four contemporary photographers, and looks at the way that interiors and architectural structures intersect with nature—reflecting on what it can mean to be inside and out.
Raissa Venables’s composite photo collage of the palm house on the grounds of Pillnitz Palace in Dresden, Germany is the quintessence of the human impulse to cultivate and curate nature within our built environments. This greenhouse was the largest in Germany when it was built in 1861 and it now houses a citrus plant that, at 300 years and counting, is the oldest in Europe.
A photograph by Toshio Shibata shows a hokora, a small Shinto shrine, nestled in a rocky hollow. These small shrines are traditionally meant to house Dōsojin, guardian spirits that are believed to protect travelers from sickness, injury, and evil spirits.
Anastasia Samoylova’s photo of the nearly submerged Cape Romano Dome House shows the ways that climate change has allowed the natural world to begin to recliam spaces and places that we have built. Originally constructed in 1982 by an oil mangnant as part of a vacation home on a remote island near Naples, Florida, rising sea levels have since reclaimed the structures. The buildings now serve as a perch for sea birds and below water the stilts have become a reef for a diverse ecosystem of marine life.
Yoko Ikeda’s photograph of Japanese slippers illustrates the Japanese custom of removing shoes or slippers at the threshold ("genkan") before entering a house or other space with traditional tatami mats on the floor. This picture neatly sums up how the transitions between exterior and interior space are often equally conceptual and practical. The custom of removing footwear was established to preserve the cleanliness of tatami mats, but it is also embedded in cultural custom.
The pictures in this exhibition demonstrate how interior spaces, as well as the engineered landscape, express our collective desire to order, appreciate, and ultimately live within our natural surroundings.