Chris Edwards makes art in his home, for his home, and about his home. Through the series of quilts presented in “Living Room” at ADDS DONNA, Edwards invites us into a personal world of cleverly self-referential, dryly humorous characters, household objects, and domestic narratives. These quilts, though displayed in a gallery for this exhibition, were largely made to meet the specifications of the artist’s cozy Lincoln Square apartment where he lives with his husband, dog, and two cats. Edwards combines a cartoonie, saturated color palette, a variety of campy embellishments, and a relaxed attitude towards wrinkles and wonky edges to create approachable works that bring forth feelings of familial intimacy and comfort. As with much of Edwards’ past work, which makes use of construction paper, markers, clay, and old clothing, commonplace materials and transparent techniques are foregrounded.
Many of the images stitched onto the surfaces of the quilts are observational depictions of the artist’s home itself. These quilts function in two ways: as useful objects that are slept under, layered on the couch, or hung across a doorway and as archives that tell a playfully straightforward story about exactly how they are lived with. For example, the quilt, “Bed” features a quite literal, deadpan rendering of a quilt covering a bed. In other words, it is an image of a quilt-clad bed…on an actual quilt…on a bed. In another piece, “Lenny,” the artist appliqués a tender to-scale image of his late dog toward the bottom of the quilt. When experienced horizontally, the piece creates the illusion of dear “Lenny” lounging at one’s feet. This work also features pockets containing special toys and fur which can be removed and a yellow pom-pom halo stitched around the dog for eternal protection.
Each work in “Living Room” offers an opportunity to peek through the windows of a warm and wacky home, a moment to examine the simple objects that make our lives emotionally complex, and a chance to experience an artist’s rendering of a universal experience of daily life.