What is home? Are your parents home? Is it where you grew up? Is it where you live as an adult? Is it where you spent the pandemic? Or is home a more abstract concept and something that constantly changes? At eye lounge, the exhibit “Not Home” by artist and eye lounge co-president Kat Davis explores the idea of home. Her photos feature her parents working, spending time outside, driving, with and without their glasses on, looking into a mirror and looking out a window, and also showcases objects around their home. At the exhibition viewers find themselves wondering where and what home is.
The creation of “Not Home” began in early 2021, after Davis got vaccinated and was finally able to see her parents again after a year. She then began bringing her camera along with her and taking photographs.
“It was documenting me being reintroduced to them after a year of not seeing them aside from phone calls,” Davis says. “It was cherishing that time that we had a little bit more than I think I would have otherwise.”
The title of the exhibit “Not Home” was inspired by Davis’s upbringing. Her mother was a traveling nurse and they moved frequently. Since then, she has always felt attached to other places and wondered if others feel the same. The title explores the idea of how home for her right now is not going to stay home.
“Does everyone feel like they have put down roots all over the place? Do people feel more connected to one place or another?”
Davis’s photographs consider transience and finding home in people rather than places, Davis says. They show how people change over time. Like how her parents are not the same people they were when she was born, and how she will not remain the same person.
The photos in the gallery are mounted on wood panels, so there is nothing in-between the viewer and the actual image. Viewers are able to walk around the art, see the texture in the pages, or if her printer had a hiccup. This lack of framing also makes viewing the art more intimate, Davis says.
As an artist, Davis enjoys playing with how people move through spaces and take in images. One example in the gallery is an image of her mother looking into a mirror that wraps around a corner. Another is a large piece hung like a banner.
Viewers of “Not Home” have shared their insights of the exhibit with Davis. One viewer helped her realize that her parents always orbited each other because they had her in common. Another viewer told Davis the work made her think of what her daughter would think of her in 20 years. And a professor from Arizona State University discussed how the art shows Davis’s intersectionality.
“It became more of an exploration on how we form identities and how the people that we live with and love and surround ourselves with informs us, as well,” Davis says.
“Not Home” is Davis’s final show at eye lounge, where she previously showed two exhibits there. She says she has been fortunate to be a part of the collective that has been in Phoenix for 21 years. Next Davis says she might turn these photos into a book, continue her “Who We Were, and Other Possibilities” project, and has a local show with another artist slated for next year.
“I’m probably going to be [creating] in the same vein — more [focused on] identity and how people see you versus how you see yourself,” Davis says. “That’s a common theme through both our work.”
During the pandemic, the eye lounge went through a renovation. The art space is now reconfigured and shares space with a brewery and a gift shop. It also plans to host a November holiday fundraiser and the next exhibit will showcase the work of photographer Gina DeGideo.