dia Millett, who works around the elegiac theme of houses and homes that have been lost or emptied, here zeroed in on individual components of houses, establishing a new intimacy. The main thrusts of these works, all from 2014, lay in the skillful and sophisticated quilting and in the workmanship that went into the miniature clapboarding and roofing.
Each work held a narrative twist. For the quilted tondo Untitled (Farm House), Millet used a Japanese Art Deco–style piece of fabric to engulf a simple house shape, resulting in a kind of ukiyo-e dream world in which the house could provide shelter in a vortex. Three other quilts explored ideas by unraveling, introducing unfamiliar shapes, or stacking different fabrics to refer to other structures.
Wooden wall pieces replicated sections of siding or roofing on a tiny scale. The large Untitled (Bird Fire) is made of shingles, with two windows and several holes, including a giant aperture with charred edges occupied by a taxidermied bird. The smaller Untitled (Scissors), with curved shingles that look new, is punctuated by an arched window containing a tiny hanging pair of scissors. Untitled (Stripes) has striations of dark and light wood, with a single window.
These beautifully crafted works clearly conveyed the mystery and humanity of the humblest of house structures.
A version of this story originally appeared in the September 2014 issue of ARTnews on page 102.