The entrance to the Bamberton: Contested Landscapes exhibit is through a door that is usually boarded shut, once inside the gallery, the familiar expansive space is full to the ceiling with wood construction. Right away one feels Lilliputian in a Gulliver size fantasy dream home. Or BIG like Alice in an upelkuchen cake induced 12:1 scale 3d movie set.
The Bomfords’ construction, made from salvaged dimensional lumber, conflates rooms with furniture, interiors with exterior. The parts include: a cabin, picket fence, lookout tower, a boardroom, a pulpit, bleachers, silos, gangplanks, ladders, rails, cross and support beams. These mixed spaces compare to sites of work, home, playgrounds, fortifications, redneck huts, abandoned industrial sheds, courtrooms and carnivals.
Occupy the pulpit, from there one can observe and judge the Court of Bamberton and imagine the stories from a common place about a war between landowners and land-developers. Listen, the low-slung boardroom under the bleachers, resonates with the sinister plans of fools and diabolical men. Scramble up to the lookout tower pretend to be a guard watching other people. Practice your anti-social survival skills in a remote cabin in the woods. Stumble upon an intimate nook nested within a phallic silo. Even with this fluid shift-change between place/narrative the installation is stable in its insistence on debate and conversation to the differences in geographic-environmental perceptions and values between individuals and groups; human modification vs. natural environment, wilderness vs. built environment. Equally a cloud of dialogue on architecture and spectatorship (looking and receiving a look, positions of power) surrounds the structure.
Topophilia* is the affectionate bond joining a person and a place; topophobia is the fear of certain places; Nathan and Cedric Bomford with imagination and historical reference build a location somewhere in-between.
* The Poetics of Space. 1958. Gaston Bachelard