Burchfield-Penney Art Center. 2010.
An 8ft cube was constructed in the gallery using standard lumber and drywall. The cube was only partially completed before it was hoisted to the ceiling (just above head height) and then clad with four independently suspended panels of assembled detritus. Each panel acted as both a frame and a mask, intensifying the emptiness of the cube's hollow core.
2003 - 2009.
Hollow core doors, wood lath, plywood, and wood paneling are continually layered and excavated. Materials are cut and re-cut, covered and re-covered, assembled and re-assembled. They are bound with drywall screws and sealed with house paint.
Buffalo, NY. 2009 - present.
Visit Fargo House website: www.thefargohouse.com
Within the Fargo House, patterns of daily living contend with the instability of matter. Operations of making and unmaking, doing and re-doing, erode the house's solidity, exposing a world that is always on the brink of becoming. The reality that is continuously remade within the house reflects the indeterminate, albeit coordinated exchanges of the surrounding city: circulations of matter, processes of reconstitution, and associated environmental affects.
For sixteen days, the artist was employed as a demolition laborer at the site of the long-vacant Farrar Mansion in Buffalo, NY. The primary task was to clear 1500 sq ft of interior space on the third floor of the building. During each day, according to the supervisor's instructions, various wall, floor, and ceiling components were removed. Each night, the artist returned to the site, collected those materials that were removed during the day, and assembled them in new arrangements. The resulting installations were photographed and then dismantled. All materials were returned to their prior locations before the next work day began.
Pittsburgh Center for the Arts. Pittsburgh Biennial. 2011.
Over a ten day period, residual building materials were collected from sites of demolition and renovation in Pittsburgh. The sourcing of fragments from divergent locations around the city and their concentration within the gallery's frame amounted to an explosion in reverse. The reorganization of matter gave visible form to a nascent funneling aperture, the incubator of the gallery's void.
2009 - 2011.
Farrar Mansion. Buffalo, NY. 2004 - 2010.
From 2004 - 2010, the vacant Farrar Mansion, former home of 19th century steel baron Chilion Farrar, was transformed into a center for the collection and reassembly of discarded building materials gathered from city-wide demolitions. The project proposed a model for urban regeneration by marrying two of the city's most salient, yet undesirable, features: the waste of building demolitions and the emptiness of derelict structures.
Albright-Knox Art Gallery. 2013. (Artist-in-Residence Exhibition)
For the duration of this residency project, the FARGO HOUSE was regarded as a creative catalyst for tradespeople in the home renovation industry. Eight tradespeople representing distinct professions--plumbing, painting, electrical, masonry, windows/doors, roofing, flooring, and weatherization--were invited to take a private tour of Maher's residence and to talk about the making of his house and their work in the construction industries. Each tradesperson was then commissioned to build a "house model" utilizing only the materials of his/her respective trade. The house models became the genesis of a superstructure of Maher's design, entitled House of Collective Repair.
2012 - 2013.
The inhabitant of the FARGO HOUSE directs the flow of tables, chairs, lamps and other domestic objects through the matrix of the dwelling space. These elements enter the front door as independent functional units, but, over time, they rebel against the autonomy of use and embrace the unity of aggregated form. As objects nest within one another, the scale of the house merges with that of the miniature. The resulting constructions hint at new hybridized dwellings and other unstable micro-structures.
Real Art Ways. Hartford, CT. 2012.
Six furnishings were displaced from the FARGO HOUSE to the gallery where they were re-sited within an array of room-like environments. The furnishings were re-combinations of ordinary domestic elements, including lamps, chairs, tables, and columns. These were, in-turn, furnished with miniature objects, including the residue of found doll houses. The room-like spaces acted as enclosures and frames for the displaced artifacts, forming a fictional armature for the unmaker's world.
2012 - 2013.
Eight tradespeople representing distinct professions--plumbing, painting, electrical, masonry, windows/doors, roofing, flooring, and weatherization--were invited to take a private tour of Dennis Maher's residence and talk about the making of the the FARGO HOUSE and their work in the construction and renovation industries. Each tradesperson was then commissioned to build a "house model" utilizing only the materials of his/her respective trade. The house models became the genesis of a superstructure of Maher's design, entitled House of Collective Repair.
House of the Plumber
House of the Mason
House of the Painter
House of the Roofer
House of the Window and Door Restorer
House of the Weatherization Specialist
House of the Electrician
House of the Floor Refinisher
Sibley Dome, Cornell University. 2013.
This site-specific installation within the Sibley Dome is a satellite of the FARGO HOUSE. Like the house, the satellite is a constellation of assembled and excavated matter. It is constructed from found objects that include ordinary building materials, furniture, and domestic artifacts, many of which have been culled from Maher’s own living space. The overarching canopy of Sibley Dome and other canopy-like objects—such as tents, umbrellas, and a trampoline—provide a surrogate environment for the Fargo House’s displaced “furnishings.” When the satellite exhausts the duration of its mission at Sibley, it will return to the Fargo House. Then, the various pieces of the satellite, along with the documentation of its voyage, will be used in order to build a new dome within the house. The return of the satellite to this center and the reabsorption of its components into the house's matrix are essential in order for the house to expand its cosmology into previously unknown areas and to introduce new territories into the domestic sphere.
Project Assistants: Micaela Barker, Braedy Chapman, John Costello, Andrew delle Bovi, Juan Andres de Risio, Michael Gainer, Kathryn Hobert, Kyle Mcmindes, Matthew Rosen, Elizabeth Saleh, Daniel Salomon
A parking lot attendant booth (hut) and seven porch columns (posts) were dismantled and the components reorganized in three stages. 1. The materials were shifted through space. 2. The four former faces of the hut were unified as a single vertical plane. 3. The vertical plane became a ground for loose debris, absorbing all remaining fragments of the hut and posts.
Black and White Gallery/Project Space. Brooklyn, NY. 2010.
The house mirages are the visions that are generated as the FARGO HOUSE gazes back at itself. They appear as amalgamated afterimages of collection, reassembly and repair. The mirages distort the house's objects and furnishings, conjuring an illusory world from existing surfaces, textures, and forms. In so doing, they reveal the lucidity of the house's apertures, conflating the everyday with realm of the dream.