Group Exhibition: Kieran Riley Abbott, Alex Jackson, and Ellen Siebers
For Peep’s first exhibition, Portals, three artists are brought together: Kieran Riley Abbott (Philadelphia, PA), Alex Jackson (Philadelphia, PA), and Ellen Siebers (Hudson, NY). Using the languages of painting and printmaking, the works are tied together thematically through portals – which they use to invite us in.
Kieran Riley Abbott’s plaster monotypes are perhaps the most literal depictions of portals among the three artists. However, upon closer inspection, the details within her grid-like patterns complicate our understanding of the portal as common iconography. The smears and tiny imperfections created by her transfer process of crayon to wet hydrocal plaster serve to entice us, pulling us in for a closer look. In her latest pieces, broken fragments are embedded delicately onto larger surfaces; sometimes the fragments help continue the line work of the larger image, and at other times they disrupt the image completely, creating a new pattern. These patterns form the foundation for Portals, and are the visual link between Kieran’s monotypes, Ellen’s paintings, and Alex’s Drawings.
Alex Jackson’s drawings are portals into the broad and creative universe that is the engine for much of his work. Although his world sometimes mirrors our own, it is much closer to science fiction and fantasy than reality. Gridded bodies move through walls (although sometimes get stuck half way), babies can fly, perspective is distorted and mythical beings called “Lookers” eat everything they see. This world is both terrifying and fascinating. The environment and characters within his drawings have a total confidence in their autonomy, so we do not question their existence but instead end up questioning the logic of our own world.
Ellen Siebers’ intimate paintings are windows into her everyday experiences and physical environment, which she is able to make both recognizable and unfamiliar. A great pleasure can be derived from examining Ellen’s work, as the viewer must attempt to decode the mysterious mimetic details she has painted. She is able to make a game out of the simple act of looking. At first glance we see something familiar from the natural world, but the longer we look, the more her painterly marks construct their own meaning