Close to Home
October 27–November 17, 2018
Opening Reception: 7–10 pm Saturday, October 27th
Closing Reception: 7–10 pm Saturday, November 17th; Screening and Conversation at 7:30 pm
Gallery Hours: Sundays 1–5 pm and by appointment
Close to home, but just a little bit off. The artists in this exhibition transform domestic objects into lumpy, gooey, and nebulous things. They coax commonplace items out of their usual settings and allow them to exceed their bounds, to overflow or to dissipate. Their uncanny works may remind viewers of a familiar everyday world, while at the same time remaining strange and distant. The unruly creations aim to surprise us, poking and prodding at parts of ourselves—privacy, intimacy, sexuality—that we thought were adequately protected. Their forays into the personal can hit a little too close to home.
In his video titled the egg, Zach Hill turns a sleepy New England town into a world of discovery and disillusionment in which an unlikely visitor attempts to make itself a home. Through his sculpture series crickets in my pant legs, Hill proposes insectoid procreation as model for queer reproduction. Xiaoxuan Liu’s still life paintings straddle the boundary between the organic and the inorganic, giving vibrancy and vitality to staplers, scissors, and cold medicine. Her abstracted housewares even transgress the boundary of the canvas, inhabiting the viewer’s space as cloth-covered sculptures, while her brief video animation brings them to life. Finally, E. Aaron Ross’s ethereal long-exposure photographs turn banal pornographic videos into mists of color where human bodies lose all coherence. His video Oh, Love that Will Not Let Me Go alludes to familial and religious ties that seem both tenuous and overwhelming.
Close to Home is the eleventh exhibition in the Incubation Series, a student-led initiative that fosters new ways of making, exhibiting, and seeing art. Founded in 2015, the Series is a collaboration between students in the Fine Arts and History of Art graduate programs at the University of Pennsylvania. The Series showcases the work of MFA students in focused and conceptually rigorous exhibitions, while also offering an opportunity for art history graduate students to expand their curatorial practices. Each academic year, the Incubation Series team produces several exhibitions throughout Philadelphia’s thriving art scene, allowing participants to build gallery relationships, engage with peers outside of campus, and test exhibition strategies.