This weekend is as good a time as any to get down to the Pajaro Valley Gallery in downtown Watsonville to see a remarkable art installation that transforms a beautiful old Victorian into a commentary on all that “home” means to us. The old Victorian is the Gallery itself, situated near the YMCA on Sudden Street in Watsonville, and the show is called “In This House That I Call Home.”
I chatted recently with artist Rose Sellary who got to design the bedroom of the house. The bedroom, of course, is the most private arena of the home, and as such it holds a lot of secrets. Sellary used that idea to create an installation that promises more than meets the eye. Her “Bed of Roses” is a bed in which the frame is made from thorny rose-bush branches and the mattress is filled with dry roses. It sits besides a nightstand sculpture in which a lung X-ray hangs over a heaping bowl of snuffed-out cigarette butts.
The combination of the dry roses and the cigarettes creates a distinct smell, and, said Sellary, that’s no accident.
“The combination of the smells is meant to evoke memory,” she said. “We all remember how different grandmother’s house smelled. I wanted to tap in to the mysterious memory of that quality.”
Near the bed and the nightstand is a closet in which another piece of art titled “Fatal Attraction” presents a pair of pumps meant both to attract and repel.
One of the artists with which Sellary shares the bedroom is Susan Vaughn who has created a vanity that makes some trenchant points about the demand to be beautiful that most women have to deal with.
There’s lots of other great rooms in the house as well. Go check it out. It’s free, and it runs through March 15. Weekend hours are noon to 4 p.m.