A few weeks ago, I visited Lynnette Miranda‘s studio to talk to her about her upcoming show Rocks on Rocks on Rocks, opening this Friday, July 27. We began by talking about her experiences with nature and her nostalgia for an abstract idea of a nature with which she is unfamiliar. We discussed her research process, covering a range of topics, including domesticity, the home, photographers, landscape artists, romanticism, and the sublime. She explained how blogs, design, and fashion, and the appearance of “nature” in these media connect to her research and influence her practice.

In her work for her upcoming solo show, Rocks on Rocks on Rocks, Lynnette is exploring the connection between domesticity and fake nature. She shared her own history with the idea of home and the significance of having her own personal space to decorate and make her own. Lynnette is investigating the home as a stage. She remembers her aunt’s first home, decorated with an ivy pattern theme – ivy curtains, ivy wallpaper, ivy upholstery, ivy everywhere.  When women decorate their home, they are making their home their environment. It is a process of becoming one with their homes, creating “their own little world”, often utilizing images of elements found in the outside world, tamed and brought indoors.

Having recently read Judith Butler’s Performative Acts for the first time, along with a number of other texts on gender theory, I couldn’t help but connect to these during the discussion of the home as a stage and as a woman’s world. Historically regulated to the home, this is the only environment that women have ever had total control over, a natural staging ground for their feminitity. That themes of nature often come through in domestic decorating motifs can further be connected to perceptions of woman’s connection with earth (think, “Mother Earth”), materiality, growth, and reproduction. Though Lynnette is not specifically addressing issues of gender roles or performativity with her work, I feel that these themes are a subtle undercurrent that seep in from the subconscious of social history.

For the show opening on Friday, Lynnette is taking on the role of interior decorator, attempting to make a fake nature domestic space within the Plaines Project gallery. She is focusing on the use of rocks as decorative elements, the duality of what a rock can be – a discardable stone off the sidewalk or a valuable decorating tool. Through sculpture, photography, collage, and print, Lynnette is questioning reality, asking what makes something natural, real, or valuable.

Etta Sandry