Jennifer Newsom & Tom Carruthers

DREAM THE COMBINE is the creative practice of artists and architects Jennifer Newsom and Tom Carruthers, based in Minneapolis, MN.

Partners in work and life, together we have created five site-specific installations in the U.S. and Canada. Each conflates what is real with what is imagined to create perceptual uncertainties that cast doubt on our “known” understanding of the world. They are images deconstructed sectionally, a three-dimensional expansion of interior ambiguities like those found in Velasquez’ Las Meninas or Jeff Wall’s Image for Women. Through techniques such as doubling (mirrors), juxtaposition (collage), overlay (projection), or mimicry (casting), we make architectural artworks that convey a multitude of viewpoints at a time. This oscillation between surface and support corresponds to a figure-ground dialectic that is central to architectural practice and the basis of metaphor.

Our work has been published in numerous outlets, including The New York Times, Huffington Post, Vancouver Sun, FoxNews, CBS, Metropolis Magazine, Modern Midwest, The Architects Newspaper, and Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African-American Experience.

Tom Carruthers, AIA, NCARB (curriculum vitae)

I am a licensed architect and installation artist. My early work consists of site-specific sculptures that explore landscape as metaphor and image as space. Within Her Wing, a piece commissioned by Socrates Sculpture Park, used polyester resin to record the East River shoreline and a decaying wood barge. Fiberglass castings of negative space captured form, texture, detritus, and gravity.  The single casting was released from the site by crane and flipped over a waterfront path, transporting a memory, a landscape, from a site out of bounds to one within.  The doubling inherent in the work (between sites of casting and the works’ placement) continues as a theme of inspiration in my current practice.

For four years, I was lead studio assistant for sculptor Ursula von Rydingsvard, helping with the construction of over 15 works, including Ogrommna at the North Carolina Museum of Art and Katul Katul, a 1% for the Arts permanent installation in Queens Family Courthouse, NY. As a licensed architect, I worked with Charles Gwathmey and Diller Scofidio + Renfro, developing early concept proposals with formal strategies that integrate context, complex geometry, and material construction. 

I earned my B.A. with distinction in visual art at Brown University, where I received the Gilbert Stuart Award for Best Work in Annual Juried Art Show, and my Masters of Architecture degree at the Yale School of Architecture.

Jennifer Newsom, AIA, LEED AP, NOMA, NCARB (curriculum vitae)

I am a licensed architect and installation artist. My research probes the space between real, tangible bodies made of flesh, steel, concrete, glass, etc, and the perception of these bodies through images (two-dimensional surface conditions seen on screens, in projected video/stills, or within mirrors).

I use race as positive and provocative impetus for design. Race is a social construct based loosely on phenotype and social perceptions. These classifications morph depending on time, place, and predilection, yet nonetheless have real implications for people when hardened into institutionalized racism and implicit bias. If race is a superficial fiction, then to deconstruct race is to deconstruct and disrupt the surface, while simultaneously investigating the substrates that support it.

Previously, I worked with Adjaye Associates, Deborah Berke, and Cooper Robertson on planning and architectural projects emphasizing  narrative, context, and how these evolve over time.

I earned my B.A. with distinction in architecture from Yale University and my Masters in Architecture degree from the Yale School of Architecture, where I received the Fermin Ennis Memorial Fellowship and the Anne C.K. Garland Award. I also created the two-day symposium Black Boxes: Enigmas of Space and Race held at Yale School of Architecture.