N_Ishchuk Offset 536 (800)
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am_cheektocheek_install-08_web
jm_familyportrait-13_web
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N_Ishchuk Offset B484 (800)
N_Ishchuk Offset -1055 (800)
N_Ishchuk Offset B1179 (800)
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA
N_Ishchuk Offset B-449 (800)
N_Ishchuk Offset 501 (800)
N_Ishchuk Offset B322 (800)
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Nikolai Ishchuk
536 (from the Offset Series), 2011
Digital C-Print
12 x 8 inches

Allison Maletz
Hug, 2011
Watercolor
27 x 40 inches

Allison Maletz
Cheek to Cheek (A Family Portrait), 2008
Sound piece: DVD, Compact Disc Player, Headphone
2:17

Jackie Mock
Family Portrait, 2013
Impressions of each of the artist's family member's teeth cast in dental stone and displayed on a wooden shelf
3 x 23 x 4 inches

Carey Denniston
Records II, 2013
Photograms
53 x 59 x 3 inches

Nikolai Ishchuk
B484 (from the Offset Series), 2011
Collage and household gloss on paper
12 x 8 inches

Nikolai Ishchuk
-1055 (from the Offset Series), 2011
Digital C-Print
12 x 8 inches

Nikolai Ishchuk
B1179 (from the Offset Series), 2011
Collage and household gloss on paper
12 x 8 inches

Nikolai Ishchuk
894 (from the Offset Series), 2011
Digital C-Print
12 x 8 inches

Nikolai Ishchuk
-B449 (from the Offset Series), 2011
Collage and household gloss on paper
12 x 8 inches

Nikolai Ishchuk
501 (from the Offset Series), 2011
Digital C-Print
12 x 8 inches

Nikolai Ishchuk
B322 (from the Offset series), 2011
Collage and household gloss on paper
12 x 8 inches

Jackie Mock
Our House (in the Middle of our Street), 2013
Raccoon skull found at the artist's childhood home adorned with a gold cap, deciduous teeth, and wisdom teeth from the artist's mother, brother, and herself in a handmade glass box
5 x 5 x 5.75 inches

Installation view of Unfamiliar

Installation view of Unfamiliar

Installation view of Unfamiliar

Installation view of Unfamiliar

Installation view of Unfamiliar

Installation view of Unfamiliar

Inquire about this exhibition.

Nikolai Ishchuk

Unfamiliar

04.06.2013 - 05.12.2013

The family portrait by nature is something known, recognizable and readable. Traditionally the subjects are posed and the visual territory is mapped out for the participants and the viewers. It memorializes a moment in time so that it will stay alive in the memories of all of the family members portrayed.

In the group exhibition, Unfamiliar, family portraiture is dissected and manipulated until it manifests other narratives outside of the ideal. Each of the artists featured in the exhibition question both the concept and the outcome of the family portrait. They do not represent a memory that the family can share.  Their works reveal dysfunction in the tradition of imagery and documentation, perhaps showing a more honest appraisal of the family unit they are depicting.

Carey Dennison’s work, Records II, is a meditation on the life of her father. After he died, she found his work logs among his things, with pages of esoteric notes. Denniston made photograms from the work logs, creating an inverse of the original, turning the work notes into unreadable clues to his daily life. In contrast, Allison Maletz depicts unity and closeness in her sound piece Cheek to Cheek (Family Portrait) and her painting Totem Pole. In the former, Maletz records different family members individually singing the Irving Berlin song “Cheek to Cheek”. She then layers each individual rendition so that it becomes a chorus sung all together. The result – while showing absolute togetherness – is both dissonant and alienating; their voices in unison but they are not hearing or listening. Again this is consistent with a known concept of family but undermines the preserved and idealized family portrait.

Nikolai Ishchuk uses the traditions of photography and the family snapshot in his series Offset, but as the title suggests, each photograph has been manipulated so that the image is shifted from its center, and thereby upset, suggestive of a less harmonious narrative. To emphasize this, Ishchuk matches each photograph with an image depicting monochromatic interstitial space, highlighting the gap rather than the family unit.

With each of the artists there is a feeling of excavation in terms of what a family is made of and what it becomes. In Jackie Mock’s works this is portrayed literally. She shows her family unit through their teeth – the last vestige of physical human remains. By collating the wisdom teeth of her brother, her own milk teeth from childhood, a gold cap belonging to her mother and placing them in a raccoon skull (again denoting the digging up of remains) she is preserving their physicality as well as the memories attached. Whilst being material and fixed, the piece reflects back on memory and oscillates in the realm of family and portraiture.

In Unfamilar, each artist explores the area between closeness and dissonance in families and how far the concept of portraiture goes to explaining that. Their works reveal the gap between the known and the jarringly surreal until we as the viewer end up on unfamiliar terrain.