April 27 – June 9, 2013
Reception Saturday, April 27, 2013 6-8PM
Swarm Gallery is pleased to present “FICTIONAL/FAMILIAR,” a grouping of new work by Cybele Lyle and Leigh Merrill in the gallery, and Emma Spertus in the project space, on view from April 27 to June 9, 2013.
“FICTIONAL/FAMILIAR” features two and three-dimensional work drawing on architecture, photography, and everyday objects to create an allegory of perspective and sense of place. To contemplate this subject matter is to contemplate what is retained in the recognizability of the familiar within the fictional. Very little of the original landscape, architecture and objects remain unchanged here, in the translation from formal motifs to the artists’ subjective lens.
Cybele Lyle uses large-scale panels, openings and photo-based imagery to create illusionary convergences of architecture and landscape. She invites viewers to contemplate and theoretically enter the constructed space from all angles. Lyle’s work moves between individual and collective experience, connecting her personal narrative to broader social concerns. What may be experienced here is less the act of perception, and more an act of engagement, as her “mirror of reality” simulates an alternative environment where all perspectives are welcome.
Leigh Merrill’s fabricated photographs and video piece offer detailed descriptions of built environments, borrowing from different architectural and landscape styles to reflect cultural ideas of beauty and perfection. She researches, explores, and photographically documents suburban and commercial neighborhoods and, through a process of digital reassembling, creates unreal spaces. Her works are also illusory in nature, at first resembling straight photographs. On second look, they collapse into visual hyperbole, requiring one to question one’s anthropogenic environments.
Emma Spertus likewise reconfigures ordinary spaces and objects through fabricated facades, illusionary depth, and photo-based re-presentation. Elements of our mediated environment, which the artist regards as symptomatic of human socialization and commerce, are formally represented sculpturally and architecturally. Possessing an undeniable humor and irony, as they are not the objects they represent, Spertus’s work presents an altered viewing experience through which accepted conventions of objecthood and imbued meaning are elegantly unhinged.
ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES: Cybele Lyle holds an MFA from Hunter College in New York City, where she received the Tony Smith Award upon graduating. She received a BFA in printmaking in 2001 fr California College of the Arts. Lyle has been an artist in residence at the Bemis Center, Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Ox-Bow. She has shown her work internationally and during the fall of 2012 exhibited with Pro Arts in Oakland as part of their 2×2 Solos. Lyle was recently selected as a finalist for the 2012 SECA award. She currently has a studio at Real Time & Space and lives in San Francisco, CA.
Leigh Merrill received her BFA from the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM and her MFA from Mills College in Oakland, CA in 2009. Merrill’s work has been part of exhibitions throughout the United States in venues such as the Phoenix Art Museum, di Rosa Art Preserve, The Lawndale Art Center, the Tremaine Gallery, and the Orange County Center for Contemporary Art. Merrill was part of the 2011 Fotografia Festival Internazionale di Roma at the Galleria Gallerati in Rome, Italy. Merrill’s work has been included in online publications such as the Design Observer / Places Journal, BLDGBLOG, and IGNANT. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the City of Phoenix, the California Institute of Integral Studies and various private collections.
Emma Spertus lives and works in Oakland, CA. She received her BA from Macalester College in 2001 and her MFA from Hunter College in 2008. Spertus works in a variety of media including installation, sculpture, and drawing. She has exhibited her work with Stairwell’s Project and The Lab in San Francisco, Dorsky Gallery in Long Island City, White Columns in New York, and Macarthur b Arthur and Important Projects in Oakland. Spertus has curated several spaces in New York and the Bay Area, and was a founding member of Rock Paper Scissors Collection. She currently co-manages Real Time & Space, which is a studio and art residency in Oakland.