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The Monsters’ House

curator: Abby Mae Friend

The Monsters’ House

There are two kinds of monsters: personal monsters and collective monsters. Personal monsters can manifest as feelings of anxiety, self doubt, and worthlessness. Collective monsters express themselves as things like sexism, racism, and homophobia — fear-based hierarchies that haunt the systems we’re forced to operate in. We share the monster that is fear of The Other. Poet and activist Audre Lord once said, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house.” In The Monsters’ House, artists begin the necessary work of connecting their personal monsters to collective monsters. Houseguest Gallery is transformed into a domestic space that represents our collective monsters. It’s haunted by visual representations of fear — those unique to us as individuals and those shared as members of this culture.

Each artists’ work addresses questions such as, What am I afraid of? How does my fear relate to otherness? How does my fear tap into a collective fear? By confronting their anxieties in the gallery setting, contributors encourage visitors to take a similar psychological inventory. How have our minds been shaped by systems like misogyny and colonization? The deeper question becomes, How do we drive out the monsters lurking inside us?

How do we dismantle the monsters’ house?

Contributing artists include Ghost Eyes, Sydney Joslin-Knapp, Jheri Neri, Linda Ding, Lizzy Duquette, Brian Dooley, and Nola Lee. Abby Mae Friend has curated exhibitions in many small and DIY institutions around Cincinnati, Ohio including Wave Pool Gallery and the 840 Gallery. They were the first Curatorial Resident at Wave Pool Gallery in 2018 with their show WITH NO MEMORIES, NO TIES, NO PHANTOMS TO TEND FOR. Friend curates shows in Shed Gallery, their 10x10 storage shed in their backyard in Cincinnati, Ohio. They have also curated multiple performance-based events at Chase Public, including a Response Project and SEXXXLITTT. They have worked installing art in galleries and institutions since 2013, working in spaces such as the Contemporary Art Center and Hudson Jones Gallery.

February 8th - April 5th, 2019 // gallery hours: Saturday 10-1 or by appointment

opening reception: February 8th, 2019 6-10p


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Curatorial Statement: By embracing fluidity and ambiguity in their practice, Jake Ford and S.N. Parks examine issues of gender and sexuality. The very appearance of the artists’ work can be difficult to decipher. Am I looking at a photograph or a painting? Human or animal? Phallus or vagina? It is in this indeterminate territory that Ford and Parks find rich conceptual possibility. Such unintelligibility challenges our desire for categorization and asks the viewer to see the world in less concrete terms. Within American culture, binaries such as male/female and gay/straight attempt to squeeze complex human experience into discrete identities. What ontological opportunities arise if we embrace that which is in between?

Parks utilizes chemigrams to explore the fluidity of gender. The chemigram process is inherently unintelligible, existing in a state between photography and painting. Created through a series of resists on light-sensitive paper, it allows for mark-making and induces an element of chaos. The fluidity and unintelligibility of the chemigram process parallels Parks’ experience with gender; as a gender fluid individual, they drift between masculinity, femininity, and an amorphous middle state. For Parks, liminality is not only a tool to challenge regimes of immutability, but also provides a structure to express personal experiences.

S.N. Parks

Parks is a mixed media artist who specializes in chemigrams, an alternative photographic process in which photo paper is covered in resisting material then exposed to light while it is shuffled between chemical baths. Parks utilizes this process alongside other methods of image-making to explore fluidity, gender, phenomenology, and play in art. They received their BFA in 2D Studio Art from the Hite Art Institute in 2016.

Jake Ford
Through investigations of biological systems, Ford finds immense possibility in alternate modes of gender and sexuality. Jellyfish, for instance, may shift between sexual and asexual reproduction during their lifespan; other sea creatures such as clownfish can alter their sex. The artist references this oscillation through forms that blur boundaries between male and female, phallus and orifice, human and inhuman. Within his work, these models act as a metaphor for the complex ways that many individuals experience gender and sexuality. Even if an one thinks of their identity as stable, Ford argues that “there is an infinite space of ambiguity and collisions between these constructed roles”

Jake Ford is a an interdisciplinary artist and thinker. He is a graduate of the Hite Art Institute, University of Louisville with a BFA in 3D Studio Art. While studying there, he developed an interest in perceptual and behavioral psychology along with other social sciences. Ford uses play to explore human sexuality, intimacy, personal identity, and how these interact and are expressed in different social situations.

April 19th-June 15th 2019 // gallery hours: Saturday 10-1 or by appointment

opening reception: April 19th, 2019 6-10p