Arcadia University Art Gallery is pleased to present A Closer Look 8, the latest iteration of an ongoing series of curated exhibitions that presents in greater depth the work of artists who have previously been juried into the Gallery's "Works on Paper" shows. The exhibition was guest-curated by Adelina Vlas, Assistant Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
The opening event takes place Wednesday, March 28, at 6:30 p.m. in the Grey Towers Castle Mirror Room, with a discussion between the Vlas and the selected artists: Dechemia, Sebastien Leclercq, Josh Shaddock and Brent Wahl.
From a pool of 150, Vlas selected three artists and a collaborative duo on the basis of the individual strengths of their work and its capacity to reveal complexities upon closer examination.
The resulting show attempts to provide a venue for these four practices to be alone while together—in dialogue with each other while maintaining their distinctive identities.
All participating artists made new work for the exhibition. In addition to a print and photographic diptych (illustrated above), Josh Shaddock is represented by a three-dimensional ampersand onto which he has affixed pigeon spikes. Abrasively attempting to claim the space around it, the sculpture offers a wry comment on the territorial dynamics of group exhibitions. Sebastian Leclercq also responded directly the given conditions of the show. His Expert Collaborator, a large work on paper spilling out of four wall-mounted binders, suggests the chaos and possible cohesion of individuals attempting to get onto the same page. Two works by Brent Wahl continue his photographic series documenting urban and domestic debris. Conflating studio explorations with a forensic approach to existing sites in Philadelphia, 44 color prints (presented on two tables) and a large framed work engage the viewer in a focused reading of their details as well as their overall compositions. Two poured plaster pieces by Dechemia (John Gibbons and Isobel Sollenberger) advance the pair's investigation of forms, materials, and iconography. A modular wall piece referencing a 1954 photograph of Marilyn Monroe reading James Joyce's Ulysses hovers above a floor work based on the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool. Poised in a spectral opposition open to multiple readings, the impact of one work on the other mirrors the conditions that define the entire exhibition.