Research

  • Azurest
  • GRANTEE
    Michael Borowski
    GRANT YEAR
    2019

Michael Borowski, Azurest South (West), 2018, Ettrick, Virginia. © Michael Borowski.

Azurest is a body of artwork documenting Azurest South (1938), the historic home and studio of Amaza Lee Meredith. Despite her exclusion from the architecture profession for being an African American woman, Meredith designed one of the earliest International Style buildings in Virginia, which she cohabited with Dr. Edna Meade Colson. The project combines current and historic photographs, notes, drawings, and materials from Meredith’s archive at Virginia State University, as well as sculptures based on architectural fragments seen in historic photos, but no longer exist. Michael Borowski layers and combines these materials to imagine a historic continuity of queer homemaking, which includes the design of an architectural space and its inhabitation and maintenance. His work documents Meredith’s life, home, and role in architectural history, and it speculates on the intersections of race, queerness, and domestic space that were not, or could not be, recorded.

Michael Borowski uses metaphors of building and construction to examine societal values that are embedded in the built environment. His work combines photography, installation, and performance to show parallels in the staging of images, identities, architecture, and design. Previous projects addressed themes of migration, intimacy, queer space, and the blurring of public and private life. His work has been exhibited in Site:Brooklyn (New York, NY), The Colorado Photographic Arts Center (Denver, CO), the Prairie Center for the Arts (Peoria, IL), and Espace Projet (Montreal, QC.) His installations have been included in Art in Odd Places, and FIGMENT (New York, NY.) He holds an MFA from the University of Michigan, and a BFA from the University of New Mexico. He currently lives and works in Blacksburg, VA and is assistant professor of studio art at Virginia Tech.