(originally published 7/27/11 in KnightBlog)
The first piece you’ll see when you check out “Homeland,” the show on view at the N’Namdi Center for Contemporary Art until August 20, is Jother Woods’ astonishing, 52-foot long installation “Plantation House.” The dense miniature world, full of buildings, vehicles, avenues and landscaping constructed mostly from found materials, is a testament to the imagination and talent of its warm, inviting 82-year old creator, who was there in shirt and tie when I visited the gallery.
Woods explained that the piece represents a fictional world based on his personal history and the future he imagined for himself as a young man. The story begins as his life did, in rural Louisiana in 1929, where he shared a single room in a crowded house with four brothers. Woods eventually moved to Detroit and became a sign painter; his imagined self met a different fate, building a trucking empire and the resplendent, titular house that is the centerpiece of the installation.