Co-Curated by Kelly Kaczynski and Cori Williams
It has historically and continually been the purview of artists, archi- tects and other creatives to not only see the potential in spaces laid fallow but to act within these spaces. It’s precisely this spirited drive that brought about the circumstances of Habersham Mills and its first exhibition, Roving Room.
This exhibition gathers together the work of 58 regional, national and international artists, emerging and established and everything consid- ered in between. Each artist was invited for their nuanced sensibilities and conceptual approach to craft.
Featuring a wide range in media and content, the relationships con- structed by the artworks in proximity to one another create common threads that can be loosely, yet poignantly, identified as a tactile reso- nance in the space. As the space is significantly patinaed from its rich history, this resonance lies just beyond or just within the image created when the artists’ works are paired with the surfaces of the architecture. Whether this is received as an association to textiles, a suggestion of the body, or an architectural proposition, within the constellation of artworks the perceptual state of touch is ever-present.
Originally a textiles mill producing cotton thread, Habersham Mills was also a fully functional small town where the employees and their fami- lies resided for generations. Since the close of the mill, the town all but passed into history and the mill began to subside into an entropic still- ness. In 2008, architects Thom Williams and Bob Cain saw the potential in the landscape and its bygone structures and invested in the property, the whole town and its vast mill spaces. Habersham Mills currently has
a team of design-build architects from Studio BNA working to rehab the spaces by using repurposed material gathered on site. Ultimately, the project is intended to grow into a community for artists or creative minded people to visit, gather, rest, work, and live.
While the artists were invited for their approach to making, they
were also considered as individuals that would perhaps be attracted to the potential that this site offered. This attraction could be from their interest in site-specificity or context driven works, or for their appeal to ‘difference’ in alternative sites, or for the simple attraction of ‘freedom’. It is largely this freedom that we believe is at the root of this gathering of such a large group of artists. We honestly did not expect such a strong, positive response from this many artists but, at the same time, we are not at all surprised. It is as though this exhibition formed from a solidarity of artists’ will.
Located near the town of Demorest, just an hour north of Atlanta, Habersham Mills is strategically situated just far enough from the urban bustle to retreat for an extended period of time or just close enough to visit for an afternoon. This is perhaps one of the features that contribute to the achievement of Roving Room. On the one hand, the exhibition brings a rare gathering of contemporary artists in a rural environment, reaching a welcoming local audience, while on the other hand this re- gional, national and international group of artists is close enough to be heard and seen by those that gladly take the simple pilgrimage outside of the city.
We would like to aknowledge Barb and Thom Williams for their ex- treme generousity and loving support of this project. In addition to all the artists and the many individuals who contributed time and effort toward the project, we would like to give special thanks to Katie Baldwin for assisting us with screen printing this year’s Roving Room bling, Donna Mintz for her assistance in all the extra little things that always needs to get done and to all the guys at Studio BNA for their assis- tance in building exhibition structures. Also, a very special thank you to Rabbi, who kept a watchful eye over everything everywhere at the Mill.
-- Kelly Kaczynski and Cori Williams (Curators)
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