Join us from 6 – 8pm on Friday, January 24th for the opening of two new ROOTED exhibitions: Sight Lines by Sophia Chai and Jessalyn Finch’s Shadow Form, The Human Body’s Secret Life. Each artist will discuss their artwork in their galleries starting at 7pm. This event is free and open to the public. Let us know you’re coming by registering on the Eventbrite Page Here.
Shaft Composition #4, Archival Inkjet Print, 40×50 inches, 2019
Sophia Chai | Sight Lines
Sight Lines will be comprised of 7 new large photographs, all from 2019 and other elements, presented within an installation that echoes my studio practice with which the photographs are made. All the photographs in the exhibition were made during my studio residency at Threshold Arts at Castle Community, right here in Rochester. In my studio space, there was an infrastructural shaft in the far right corner of the room next to the window facing north. I became interested in seeing how the multiple flat planes of the shaft would conjoin to form a three-dimensional corner and how the sunlight coming through the window would reflect off the different facades and create different shades. While I knew each plane to be a white wall, indistinguishable from the others, each plane took on a different presence upon seeing each plane in relationship to the others. While looking at this corner, I began making drawings in my notebook. It occurred to me that the interplay of the physical logic of the light and space as I know and the internal logic of the drawing on a flat piece of paper was akin to the way that we see a 3-dimensional space on a 2-dimensional viewing plane of the camera. Using these drawings as a starting composition, I painted directly on the walls. The photographs in the exhibitions are the records of those wall compositions. And the painted elements on the gallery walls are made in direct response to the architectural details in the exhibition space.
As a teenager I immigrated to the US from South Korea with my family and having to negotiate different languages and cultural barriers at that adolescent age has been a significant experience in shaping my identity. The feelings of contradiction, confusion, and ambivalence that my work can incite can be seen as a metaphor for that unsettling experience. I have always made my work out of a need to communicate what is not possible in words. What compels me to photography is the interplay, or push and pull, between what one can control vs. the incidental.
While the initial experience for the viewer of my work may be the illusory effect of the photograph, I am more interested in letting the viewer seeing the process with which how the photographs are made. Moreover, the photographs are enlarged to a size that approximates the actual scale, thus allowing all the marks of the hand to be visible and palpable.
With the most recent body of work, my attention to the often overlooked and muted details in the corner of a room has gained another layer of meaning as I approach these details as a self portrait of a sort. And the activity of looking, the primary subject matter in this exhibition, has opened up a way for me: an affirmation of life and being in this world.
Jessalyn Finch | Shadow Form: The Human Body’s Secret Life
Shadow Form, The Human Body’s Secret Life (2020) is a collection of life-size charcoal drawings that explore the associations we have with our human body. The nude form is utilized as the physical concept of the mind’s shadow, a vessel separate from the mind itself. The work portrays life experiences and feelings that models shared with the artist about their form. These stories about the body’s function, beauty, or abilities affect both the way that we move through this world, and how we are viewed by others.
Jessalyn Finch interviewed and worked with models to create this collection of drawings. She uses posing, lighting, and contrast while minimizing direct identifiers to create an essence of how the model feels and thinks about their form without focusing on identity itself. Often deemed mysterious, the large scale of this exhibit aims to bring the human body out of the shadow of shame and censorship and into the light of discussion; highlighting the connective power of the human form. This Shadow Form is always present, expressing our history, and carrying the residue of our shared humanity.