Actual Size is pleased to present Regarding Chickens, a new installation by Los Angeles-based artist Audrey Hope. This exhibition is part of a broader collaboration with poet/violinist Keir GoGwilt and composer Carolyn Chen. Regarding Chickens features six sculptures situated within an immersive fabric space. On selected days, there will be live performances by GoGwilt in the installation.
The installation takes its form as a brightly lit glittery grotto, intended both to embrace and assault the viewer. The space includes two free-standing and four hanging sculptures which feature photographs of chickens and chicken coops. Hope’s work takes an idiosyncratic approach to the mass-produced. She takes sparkly craft store goods and smushes them into sheets of hand-dyed canvas, creating surfaces that are both inviting and repulsive. Her works can be described as exuberant and grotesque.
In GoGwilt's poetry, Chen’s music and Hope's installation, chickens are a recurring motif. Chickens interest Hope because they can be at once pet and possession, simultaneously a source of income and an object of affection. Four pieces include a repeated photograph of a mother restraining her pet chicken as her children’s hands reach in to caress it. Viewers are left to decide whether this is a scene of love or animal husbandry. This in-betweenness is a central theme in this exhibition, as it is in Hope’s work in general. A three story chicken coop, which appears embedded in one of Hope’s sculptures, is both a way for a household to earn extra income and a striking architectural formation. In another photograph, roosters march triumphantly into a living space that is neither fully indoor nor outdoor. Like chickens, the artworks are a site of contradiction: crusty and smooth, venerated and loathed, earnest and frivolous.
The installation also serves as a performance environment for Keir GoGwilt, who will play the music of Carolyn Chen and recite his own poetry. These performances are the culmination of a collaborative process in which each artist takes the others’ ideas in order to breathe a different life into them.
Performances will begin promptly at the posted time. There will be limited seating. The music is quiet and rewards attentiveness. Recording is permitted but devices must be silenced during the performance. The performance will be visible and audible from the street.
An essay by composer and critic Asher Tobin Chodos will accompany the show.
About the composer:
Carolyn Chen has made music for a supermarket, demolition district, and the dark. Her work reconfigures the everyday to retune habits of our ears. It has been supported by Fulbright, Soros Fellowships for New Americans, Stanford University’s Sudler Prize, the ASCAP Foundation Fred Ho Award, and the Berlin Prize. Recent projects include an audio essay on a scream and commissions for the LA Phil and Klangforum Wien.
About the performer:
Keir GoGwilt is a violinist and writer whose work has been presented at festivals including PS 122 COIL, Santiago a Mil, Luminato, Spoleto; he has soloed with groups including the Orchestra of St. Luke's and the Chinese National Symphony. He earned a BA in literature at Harvard, and was awarded the Louis Sudler Prize in the Arts. Currently he is a PhD candidate in music at UCSD, where he is writing a history of romantic and modernist musical aesthetics from the perspective of performance pedagogy.
About the artist:
Audrey Hope holds her MFA in Visual Arts from UC San Diego, where she was a 2017 Frontiers of Innovation Scholar. She received her BFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston in association with Tufts University, and was awarded a 2014 Traveling Fellowship by the School. Recent solo exhibitions include DXIX Projects in Venice, CA and MaRS Gallery in Los Angeles, as well as group exhibitions at Centro de las Artes San Agustín in Oaxaca and the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego. She has participated in residencies at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and the Ox-bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency.