Traces, Fragments, and Voids: An Artist Representing Detroit’s Vanishing Homeland

Whitney Lea Sage

Homesickness Series, an ongoing series of monochromatic ink paintings modeled after tintype photography, frames the façades of individual homes in Detroit as a form of portraiture. If individual depictions of lost or endangered homes can be seen as portraits of the residents they once contained, and if homes are sites and containers of memory, then rendered windows and doors serve as both literal and psychological passageways into the interior of the home and the interior sites of the mind with its associated lived experiences and memories. As a corrective measure in representing Detroit, my practice uses visual or written means to provide the audience of my work with oft-overlooked historical contexts to illuminate the ways corporate abandonment, housing segregation, highway construction, and white flight led to city’s present day challenges.

Click this link to access Sage’s full artist statement.

Whitney Lea Sage is a multidisciplinary artist from metro Detroit, currently serving as assistant professor of art at North Central College in Naperville, Illinois. Whitney’s work has previously been featured exhibitions at the Painting Center, Superfront LA, UICA, and the Muskegon Museum of Art, and will be featured in an upcoming solo exhibition at Ripon College. Whitney’s work has been featured in a number of publications including Manifest’s INDA 14, WomanArts Quarterly, Newfound Journal, and MoCAD’s Post-Industrial Complex catalog.

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