Exile Inside Out/ Soheila Azadi, Grace Cross, Sherwin Ovid, Soo Hyun Kim, and Roni Packer

Friday, July 15, 2016 - 7:00pm to 11:00pm

EXILE INSIDE OUT
 Soheila Azadi, Grace Cross, Sherwin Ovid, Soo Hyun Kim, and Roni Packer
 

Exile Inside Out is a group exhibition that brings together artists Soheila Azadi, Grace Cross, Sherwin Ovid, Soo Hyun Kim and Roni Packer to investigate the insurgent nature of the domestic sphere, which localizes the global. As immigrants to the United States we all inhabit the interstitial space between what is homely and what is (un-homely) uncanny. The home is an assumed incubator of gender roles, a space of security, and a site of insurrectionary praxis. The security that protects some citizens, is the same mechanism that misconstrues foreign bodies. Our show interrogates our permeable exilic existence governed by the insecurity of the benevolent nation-state. This show strives to bridge our space of belonging that breaches the borders of our twin homes both physically and ideologically.

The symbols and memories of the kitchen table, the families silverware, mother’s knitting, and the family photo-wall, make shifting recipes for artworks embedded in cross-spatial borders. From the ideological knitting with the slogan #madeiniran, that covers Azadi’s exercise balls, to Packer’s lush plate paintings that recreate her sister’s family meals cooked back in Israel; the artists in this show investigate the familiar in an unfamiliar guise. The material choices of each artist transgresses conventional artistic-material borders; like Ovid’s use of unruly, liquid resin and glue to create his poured paintings or Cross’s corporeal mixed-media, felted paintings, or Kim’s depiction of ephemeral dwelling material in his native Korean shanty town caught through the camera lens.

Ovid’s material curiosity is forged into visual composites of Trinidadian parlor interiors, delftware, and depression. His plethora of objects found in domestic spaces of leisure are painted as symbolic references of class and race. Trans-
national vernacular is reflected in his paintings paradoxical display of inherited colonial histories and the cultural memory of black resistance. Concurrently, Cross makes paintings that pull from the strata of her South African history, and from polysomic cultural myths to create visually layered cosmological space through the still map that etches journeys and pilgrimages. These linkages help Cross map and inscribe her social relations, specifically of displays and negotiations of power that are recursively engaged in her own reproduction and reconstitution.

Packer’s visceral paintings transport the viewer to a different location, into a space of nostalgia. Her reconstructed home meals, made of oil and panel, pivot the hyper local specificity of food to a public ingestion of longing. Packer’s work deals with the transmigration of images through the web, where locations and experiences can be shared in an instant. The substrate of paint and the charged content of exile cannot be separated because of their symbolic nature.

Exile Inside Out unearths the day to day living of the disenfranchised. The show grapples with physical and psychic struggle, with intimacy and desire for life between all of us, not settling for freedom even in the most private aspects of our lives. Kim’s visceral photographs document his mother’s makeshift home in Guryong Village, Korea, juxtaposed with photographs of his nuclear families urban Chicago living. His photographs collapse intimate moments of everyday life with the coarse urban milieu of city space, to emphasize the unspoken contradictions of places shaped by neo-liberal economic policy, and to reveal the private relationships of the home.

Azadi, a similarly displaced body, creates performative installations of potent social interactions, to investigate the separations embedded in Iranian and American society. She is a dedicated transnational feminist invested in granular political action that calls out gender and race inequality through interactive, spatial interventions that carve out space for dialogue.

The images throughout each artist’s practice, coalescing in the show, are talismans for a deep history, bringing transformative cultural wisdoms and materials that erode, uncover, excavate and perforate boundaries of the ‘homeland’. The foreigner lives within us: she is the hidden face of our identity, the space that wrecks our abode, the time in which understanding and affinity founder.