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The home shows

hageruntitledquiltA couple of shows far off the beaten track seem to me to be another sign of life in the contemporary art sign.

Roberta and I went to a show in curator Sean Stoops‘ apartment (up until May 15, hours and location below). Stoops, who works at the Asian Arts Initiative, created a group show, INHABIT, inspired by post-modern domesticity and various aspects of 21st century apartment life, installed in an actual living space- the curator’s apartment. The resulting display of painting, installation, prints, sculpture, and multimedia is hip and lively, with lots of solid hits.

Ultra faves

hironakalightswitchdaydreamVideo artist Nadia Hironaka has hung a video of a light switch at light-switch height and size on the wall (right). The plain white ceramic switch acquires tiny floral decorations of the sort commonly painted or decal-ed on over the course of the video, at which point a hand materializes and throws the switch. That’s the 52-second loop–a nice metaphor for time passing, day and night. This takes pattern and decoration in a several new directions–the dreaminess, the cyber immateriality, the routines of domestic life. The piece is entitled “Lightswitch Daydream.”

johnsonpackageJust around the corner in the hallway closet, James Johnson’s “closet,” a peephole in a pile of computer cartons showed an ultrareal, daylit scene of an upper-middle-class suburban living room with french doors and the perfect garden beyond. The contrast of the darkness of the closet’s and the computer boxes’ secrets with the glorious miniature scene raised questions about unreality and falsity all over the place (image left; the optics of the inside image made it too hard for me to photograph).

And in the bedroom, Courtney Hager’s untitled quilt installation (image at top of post) can’t cover up the Mt. Fuji-shaped polyps poking up. I loved the way this also went in more direction, the embroidered arabesques suggesting body and landscape all at once.

More bedroom pieces

hufridaynightupallnightAbove the bed, Joseph Hu’s “Friday Night, Up All Night” (right) suggests not such a good time, restless in front of the television. In this sepia-toned grisaille painting, Hu’s blur technique suggests tv screen static as well as a state of mind.

kimstageAcross the room, Joonhyun Kim’s “Stage,” also oil on canvas, also grisaille, also from photographic sources, offers nice angles and a feeling of compression that brings me right back to the intensity of taking care of (and adoring, being exhausted by) young children.

sakaguchicellphoneminiatureabirthdayI also liked Hiro Sakaguchi’s “Cellphone Miniatures,” a birthday and Mt. Fuji, the latter conveniently near the polyps of the quilt. For those of us who wear bifocals, however, in the relatively dim light of a domestic setting, these are a little tough to see. However that’s part of the point, life and nature compressed to something smaller than a snapshot (right, “Cellphone Miniature A Birthday,” acrylic on wood and ivory).

Home decorators alert

stewartuntitledhallwaymuralKate Stewart’s untitled mural installation made me laugh–a mix of pattern and false perspectives making the hallway into a sort of destination (left). The colors seemed so hip–acidy green, mauve, gold, pink, etc. It was like those instructions in decorating magazines–How to turn your small space into a palace, or, Mirrors–windows into spatiousness.

The rueful, stylized cartoon/true romance drawing installation from Adam Parker Smith were fun for their serial sentiments, telling the story of romance, romance failure, new romance. This is as much a word piece as a drawing piece, and its placement in an apartment brings to mind images of earnest and not-so-earnest couplings and lonely nights (image right, below).


Because I was there at the opening (oh, well, bad excuse), I didn’t hear the Clint Takeda or Matthew Suib audios, so I can’t say anything here, but I think the above are more than enough reasons to go out of your way to see this show. Other artists showing here are: Elysa Voshell, Kate Norton, James Rosenthal, Eric McDade, Hiro Sakaguchi, Anita Schillhorn Van Veen and Candy Depew in no particular order.

Here’s the where and the hours:
806 South 48th St., #2R, (near Baltimore Ave.), Philadelphia, regular hours: Saturday and Sundays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.. Monday to Thursday evenings by appointment; closed on 3/27 and 5/8. Call for information: 215-724-5343

Seeing red–second apartment show

I got an email from Matt Pruden with info on another apartment show. Some friends of his have converted their studio/warehouse space into a gallery for the month.

Here’s the info:
Artists: Amber Dubois, Justin Grant, Steve Layne, Laura McKinley, Matt Pruden, Emily Royer, Gael Abary, Laura Graham, Darla Jackson, Amy Kahn, Elisabeth Nickles, Ron Ribant, Lilian Walsh

2716 N. Salmon Street, 2nd Floor
Phila, PA 19134