The canvases in Marygrace Greene’s solo show “Real Estate” at downtown art space Cultivate 7twelve seem deceptively simple at first glance: houses rendered into lines and blocks of color laid on white backgrounds.
There’s meaning in the details, though. A smear of white spackle on white canvas. Small wood chips embedded in paint. Angles that suggest a homebuilder’s blueprints. Grids that echo tile bathroom floors. Stairs and ladders. Random numbers and dots that aren’t so random.
For Greene, the daughter of North Carolinian architect Tim Greene, the details tease out the difference between a house and a home by combining elements of both, the imagined lines of design and the rough additions of construction and life. “I’m building an art piece that’s a house and a home,” she said with a smile.
“Real Estate” shapes the interplay of art and design through the filter of Greene’s life.
The 24-year-old artist grew up watching houses take shape from her father’s plans to three-dimensional realizations. A childhood of evening walks through the neighborhood sharpened her eye for what made houses different. Walls. Paint. Roofs. Windows. Chimneys.
Even as she moved to Waco to start art studies at Baylor University after classes at the Savannah College of Art and Design, a homesick Greene found herself gravitating from her apartment with trips to Dallas to look at houses — not to buy, but to look.
Echoes of her life surface in mixed media works with titles like “Walk Around the Block,” “My Childhood Home,” “Dallas 1” and “Restoration.”
Streaks of abstraction and minimalism run through her first solo show, signs of her personal style and a step away from the art of her day job: an artist and display coordinator with Magnolia’s art and design team.
That team effort involves art installations at Magnolia’s main store at the silos — including what’s nicknamed the “Wow wall” that greets entering customers — plus Magnolia Table and Magnolia Press, all of which is changed on a regular basis to catch the eyes of Magnolia’s thousands of daily visitors.
That lesson isn’t lost on Greene, who admits she often stands in front of artwork in museums for minutes at a time, drinking in the tiny details. “Real Estate” has several of those, from the random number 28717 that’s the zip code of her childhood neighborhood to the three dots on multiple canvases that serves as her signature. “It was more special to me to have a special element that people can find,” she explained.
As for the difference between a house and a home, Greene finds her answer close to the philosophy behind Magnolia, her employer. “Art and design — that’s what it comes down to,” she said.