New alt_space Exhibition in January December 28 2016

In the alt_space: 
Vanessa Diaz: The Original Purpose has Slipped our Memory

On View:
January 7 - February 11, 2017
Opening Reception: Saturday, January 7, 4-7pm
Artist Talk: Friday, February 10, 11am

New Smyrna Beach, FL— Arts on Douglas is excited to start the New Year with a new alt_space exhibition by South Florida sculptor and installation artist Vanessa Diaz.  In this site-specific installation titled “The Original Purpose Has Slipped Our Memory,” Diaz reinterprets a variety of used and discarded objects by presenting them in new and unfamiliar contexts and environments to explore our behavior towards objects, associated memories, and what defines a place as ‘familiar.’  

This exhibition will be on view from January 7 through February 11, 2017. The opening reception will take place on Saturday, January 7 from 4 -7pm with light refreshments and live music by smooth jazz trio Tres Bien, featuring Ron Gilotti on the upright base, Tyler Rosenke on the drums and Billy Hutch on the guitar. An artist talk with Vanessa Diaz is scheduled for Friday, February 10 at 11am.  This exhibition, reception and artist talk are all free and open to the public.


This site-specific installation of The Original Purpose Has Slipped Our Memory utilizes sections of carpeting, architectural salvage, and various remnants of furnishings in irregular, alternative combinations. Rather than concealing, blocking out light, or providing comfort, as they would in a home environment, these materials become extensions of the walls and influence the experience of moving through the space. Central to this exhibition is Diaz’s construction titled Where Traps can be Set at Ones’ Good Pleasure, which she describes as being “based on man-made trapping devices used to guard territory in guerrilla or jungle combat” elaborating that this collection of reassembled furniture parts can “defend and protect personal territory within the domain.”   This centerpiece, along with other related sculptural pieces combine to distort the expectations of daily use. Once familiar, objects invite the viewer into a surreal, almost menacing fragment of the domestic realm, an observation of common household furnishings that adapt towards other functions. By evoking unfamiliarity between object and viewer, Diaz’s installation resonates as a house that is not here for habitation, while provoking new methods and strategies for claiming space.

As a whole, this exhibition examines the process of arranging and re-arranging, and questions how the placement of objects in a room or building might effect routine interactions within the architecture. Observing different ways of living, traditions, architecture, and collections in the home informs Diaz’s understanding of how individuals respond to sculptural forms in an altered yet common setting.


Vanessa Diaz is a sculptor and installation artist based in South Florida. In 2016, Ms. Diaz was awarded a Cintas Fellowship in Visual Arts through the Knight Foundation and a Windgate Fellowship for visiting artist in residence at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. She is the recipient of a Joan Mitchell Foundation Painters and Sculptors Grant, a South Florida Cultural Consortium Fellowship, and a Clark Hulings Business Accelerator Grant. Diaz has developed site-specific work for Project Row Houses in Houston, TX, the decorative arts galleries at the Museum of Fine Arts in St. Petersburg, FL and the Contemporary Art Museum in Tampa, FL. She was one of ten artists invited to exhibit in the premier Florida Prize in Contemporary Art exhibition at the Orlando Museum of Art.  Her residencies include the Schwandorf Kunstlerhaus, Germany; the BAU Institute at the Camargo Foundation, France; the Atlantic Center for the Arts; VCCA; and among others an upcoming residency at the Joan Mitchell Center, New Orleans.