The title “Domestication” is my shorthand for how modern conveniences have streamlined and mechanized access to all our basic needs in our homes. These paintings take a brief look at the in-the-woodwork elements of mundane modern life that normally escape conscious reflection. But the series didn’t originate from the concept; it began organically as a short-term solution for my circumstance and emerged into its own voice and content. In 2000 I got pneumonia, and was confined to the house for a few weeks while I recovered. In an effort to stave off boredom and find sources of art inspiration inside the house, I took out my Polaroid camera and began to take “blind” shots of random, arbitrary perspectives, not looking through the viewfinder. As I reviewed these snapshots, I found that the most interesting ones were of the sinks and drains. Kitchen sink full of dishes, bathroom sink with toothbrushes, utility sink. Something about both the structure of the porcelain and drain and the ordinariness of the subject matter viewed from odd, accidental angles piqued my interest. I was curious about these mundane moments of my home life, random vignettes of the daily and the ordinary.

As I painted, the drain emerged as a metaphor, making me think about the mindless use of something so essential and basic as water. Food and food storage also emerged as a common theme because of their visual interest to me in the random image, as well as their basic, essential importance in daily survival. As with water, it amazes me to observe my modern habits of food storage and consumption, and how mindlessly I take it for granted precisely due to its ease of access. For me it creates an ongoing internal dilemma, and begs the question: How beneficial is it to have total ease of my basic needs? Is it actually in my best interest not to have to tend the garden for my food, or have to pull my own water from a well or stream in order to drink clean water, bathe, and wash my clothes? When these chores are not directly connected to my having water and food, I seem to cease to fully appreciate these miracle substances that keep me alive. They simply become part of the background. I would have assumed that creating as much efficiency and ease as possible in the access to basic needs would help me thrive and evolve, but I find the reverse is true. This look at the mundane basics of my domesticated life helps me to discover and examine these questions.

© 2014 Jan Zoya. All rights reserved.