The Living Room

Cibachrome photograph

Signed, titled and numbered from edition of 12 on lower right recto.

The Living Room” is a newly printed image in an edition of 12, exclusively made for Holden Luntz Gallery collectors.

In, The Living Room, American artist Sandy Skoglund investigates and redefines a home’s primary gathering space, the living room. She creates a fictional environment that elevates the viewer’s capacity for interpretation and exploration. Skoglund ultimately reimagines an alternative reality and subverts how one typically reads a photograph.

Skoglund’s surrealist installation sees the traditional living room in an intensified perspective using the multifaceted and striking color palette so akin to her art practice. Therefore, with her overpowering use of grass, plastilina (oil-based clay) sculpted dogs, and chromatic color scheme, the artist appeals to the viewer’s imagination. By referencing these American tropes, like lawn grass, pets, and a domestic environment, Skoglund engages and investigates American sensibilities and their significance within the sanctity of a home.

In The Living Room, Sandy Skoglund challenges any straightforward interpretation of her photograph. As a deep thinker and cultural critic, Skoglund layers her work through many symbolisms that go beyond the piece’s initial comic absurdity. We can see that by further analyzing the relevance and perception of her subjects in society.

At the forefront are the partially viewable hounds. These multiplying dogs take over the space and become the picture’s main protagonists. In turn, a couple in dialogue appears small in the back, faintly discernible but seemingly content. As an artist that uses color to significant effect, Skoglund maximizes the symbolic potential of her photograph’s colors. Green symbolizes healing and is the most dominant color in nature. It equals growth, a harmonious environment, and seems soothing and relaxing. The area of too much green symbolizes the placid, lazy, slow, and moody. The blue represents the sky and sea, open spaces, freedom, intuition, and expansiveness. Too much blue refers to the cold and uncanny. For Skoglund, the color palette commands attention and becomes a prominent facet of the photograph.

The repeated sculptures of dogs emerge strikingly through the image. Meanwhile, the furniture items resemble intricate topiaries that can act as small monuments to the middle-class home. A couple, a man and a woman, who appear more like a catalog advertisement, lounge by an unlit fireplace. These topics of American’s obsession with perfectly manicured lawns and the overwhelming love of dogs are examined with green turf acting as a bed for the dreamlike assortment of dogs. Even 20 years after the piece was created, these issues are still relevant, highlighting Skoglund’s adroitness at parodying cultural conventions.”