Home is Where the Art Is

Florence Gouvrit-Montano.Florence Gouvrit-Montano (pictured) and Monika Laskowska have quite a bit in common. They are both extraordinarily gifted artists who were born outside the United States. They have spent much of their lives in multiple locations and now they live in Columbus—but only temporarily. For Gouvrit-Montano and Laskowska, home is not a geographical reference point.

“We are perpetual immigrants,” said Laskowska, a second-year MFA student studying ceramics, whose work, along with Gouvrit-Montano’s, was featured in IMPACT, an exhibition in the College of Arts and Sciences’ Swing Space Gallery held in conjunction with the Immigration COMPAS.

IMPACT featured the works of artists and writers who are immigrants or the children of immigrants. Living in a new country, whether as a citizen, refugee, permanent resident, student, or worker, documented or undocumented, impacts each person differently.

Laskowska was born in Poland, where she received her BA in English, and moved to Galway, Ireland for work and to earn a BFA in ceramics. Her practice revolves around various aspects of identity and stems from her experiences living in foreign places and cultures.

“In my pieces, I try to recreate my own experiences of making a home and then having to leave it,” said Laskowska. “You move from place to place and you lose your center of gravity.”

For Gouvrit-Montano, a recent Ohio State alumna (MFA, art and technology, 2011), presence and absence permeate her work. A new media artist, Gouvrit-Montano was born in Paris and raised in Mexico City, where she received her BFA from the National School for Painting, Sculpture and Engraving and a master in Philosophy of Science/Technology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM). Like Laskowska, she is multi-lingual and multi-cultural and perpetually on the move.

"Moving around feels natural for me,” said Gouvrit-Montano. “The word immigrant does not define me; my home is where my relationships are."

Gouvrit-Montano’s work for the IMPACT exhibition was a live video feed of a Mexican market in Columbus and the interaction and exchange that happens between Mexicans and their own space and between non-Mexicans and the space.

Dia de los Muertos by Juan Javier and Gabrielle Pescadora.

Dia de los Muertos by Juan Javier and Gabrielle Pescadora

The new Swing Space Gallery, formally Hopkins Hall Art Gallery, has been relocated to the South Campus Gateway,1556 N. High St., and features works by students, faculty, guests, and professional artists. A new website, swingspace.osu.edu is currently in process; check in soon to see a schedule of exhibitions.

Visit the events page to learn more about events throughout the arts and sciences.