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Asking for a Friend
Vox Populi's New Member Takeover
Open through Sunday, February 16th

Asking for a Friend: Vox Populi’s New Member Takeover
Featuring: Lucia Alber, Blanche Brown, Gerald Brown, Briana Coleman, Natalie Hijinx, Zach Hill, Melissa Langer, Raúl Romero, Lea Devon Sorrentino, Roopa Vasudevan
Opening: Friday, January 10, 2020 | 6-10pm
On View through Sunday, February 16, 2020

Featuring artworks and installations by ten artists who joined the Vox Populi collective membership in 2019, Asking for a Friend: Vox Populi’s New Member Takeover showcases a plurality of experimental practices that constitute and expand our collective identity. Including projects by Lucia Alber, Blanche Brown, Gerald Brown, Briana Coleman, Natalie Hijinx, Zach Hill, Melissa Langer, Raúl Romero, Lea Devon Sorrentino and Roopa Vasudevan, the exhibition will feature sculpture, installation, ceramics, fiber, photography, video and multi-media environments.

The Front Space features In Preparation For Takeoff by Roopa Vasudevan, which was made using a collection of 60 global airline safety videos, pulled from YouTube. The prints were created by running screenshots taken from the videos at certain key points through a custom algorithm that selects the most common red, green, and blue values at each pixel, and generates a new image with the results; the video is edited to demonstrate disparities in how this information is presented in its original contexts. Together, this work seeks to examine how universal public health and safety information is often overtaken and muffled by economic and cultural motivations.

Also in Front Space is Music for Plants by Plants by Raúl Romero. This installation has three parts: three standing speakers, a sculpture and a listening station. The three speakers facing the sculpture are pulsing and moving as inaudible sound emanates from them, causing air to flow out as they play subsonic frequencies. This gesture is positioned in relation to the sculpture proposing a question of whether the plant is listening to the inaudible sound from the speakers or if the plant is causing the speakers to produce sound. A listening station is placed on the opposite end with headphones playing the vinyl record of plant generated music compositions. The compositions were recorded in real-time and composed at Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia, PA.

In Gallery One, like a horse who is trying to the best of its ability, Lea Devon Sorrentino is trying her best to Win. In She’s Gone All Out, a mixed media installation, a constructed platform adorns ribbons, sashes, roses and a trophy case containing recorded accolades. A blanket of flowers is draped across the trophy case. Participation ribbons with past “accomplishments” weigh down on the blanket, dragging and nagging at the supposed celebration. She’s Gone All Out has Sorrentino questioning what’s happens when you are perceived as doing things “right”, but everything still feels wrong.

In addition, Lucia Alber presents Are We Eating Yet? Pasta Sunday and Monday and Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday. This installation is a snapshot of a fanciful Italian American home where food reigns supreme. The family who lives in this home wastes not by saving the packaging of everything they consume to create the fabrics that decorate their household. Memories of hanging out under my grandmother’s dining room table before dinner are supplemented with symbols of my upbringing, underscoring the significance of food, family, and religion in this and many other subcultures in America.

Gallery Two features Cleaning Out the Closet, Cabinet by Gerald Brown. This installation is a visualization of Brown’s interiority, a place where she can imagine the complexities of her Black-Womaness while challenging how public expressiveness is demanded of her, by others and herself. This orchestrated identity has become mentally and physically deteriorating, making Brown restless and obsessive with the exterior’s reactions. Although intended to protect Brown and her community, these motives are rooted in Anti-Blackness. Using diagrams to analyze how this infectious disease contaminates her psyche, Brown interrogates her own manipulative tendencies and destructive ideation. Simultaneously, Brown seeks refuge in the sacred ceramic objects, asking for forgiveness and guidance through the healing process of a Strange Fruit.

Nearby, Natalie Hijinx presents Discount Interdimensional Travel. Portal 5000 is one of the lowest-risk mobile interdimensional jump stations on the market today. Talk about the ultimate staycation! Voyage to unseen parallel worlds — much like our own — with very limited possibility of an apocalypse scenario. Family discounts available.

Gallery Three features Consider the Oyster by Blanche Brown. Brown’s multi-media installation honors and explores the oyster, an animal that she believes offers blueprints for how to reimagine and transform the social. Consider the Oyster scores a documentary poem within an imagined watershed landscape.

And, Briana Coleman presents Chill Out, which combines new and old works in an effort to transition a once previously fluid and ambiguous idea-to-image making process to one which more directly endeavors to educate and empower through exposure and dialogue. It serves as the impetus for future works which will hopefully engage the artist and audience more actively towards the goal of collective betterment, starting from within. We are very very sick. Please stop shoving sugar down our throats. Stop telling us it’s so pretty. What do we need to do, to get better? We know there are problems. Now what?

In Gallery Four, Zach Hill has installed two works – A Lure 1 and A Sign. A Lure 1 uses different rods and piping to loosely draw a larger than life fishing hook in space. This work is the first in an ongoing series that examines the ways in which LGBTQ folks instinctually attract, communicate, and shield one another. Formally this sculpture borrows from systems of baiting or trapping, antennas, and warning beacons. A Sign is a diptych that mimics public signage and binary symbolism. The found glass pieces utilize finishes to shift light, color, and reflection that change as the viewer interacts with the work.

And, in Black Box, Melissa Langer presents 44 Rotiations, which pieces together hours of footage from 44 city surveillance cameras spread across Philadelphia to monitor known ‘hot spots’ where illegal dumping occurs. Cameras with looped, timed movements and a rotating lens monitor known dumping sites throughout neighborhoods for new carnage from high perches on telephone poles and trees. These images give us access to the official eyes of the city, and highlight the Sisyphean task of curbing our excessive consumption.