The Pollock Gallery of the Division of Art at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts will present the exhibition Stranger than Fiction. The exhibition features video, paintings, textile and sculpture by artists Julia Brown, Erika DeFreitas and Nicole Miller.
The works record and highlight the occurrence of the absurd in everyday or commonplace settings. The artists employ modes of performance, documentary and transcription to explore intersecting issues of migration, history, politics and commerce. Their works reveal underlying themes of humor, violence, exploitation, isolation and exchange.
Julia Brown’s video, L’entartage, contains footage of various politicians and personalities being hit in the face with pies while publicly speaking, illustrating how a gesture rooted in vaudeville has transformed into an act of hostility and aggression. Her work American Vernacular includes six vignettes that feature a group of individuals embodying the characteristics of 19th-20th century “Black Americana” household objects. While performing as these items, the repetition of their gestures highlights the inherent racism in the objects’ production while occasionally subverting the abhorrent nature of the objects into actions that are humorous and bizarre. Brown will also contribute a selection of paintings on the subject of people who have been apprehended while attempting to smuggle live animals on their person through customs.
Erika DeFreitas’s two-channel video, The Truth of Lineage, depicts the artist and her mother side by side on split screens on two separate monitors. On both screens, either the artist or her mother is shown weeping while a disembodied hand collects tears in a vial. At the work’s conclusion, either the artist or her mother is shown ingesting the tears of the other. The artist has also included a series of photographs that depict her together with her mother in various domestic settings. In all of them DeFreitas is cloaked within a crocheted cosy, her form hidden beneath a layer of wool while she snuggles against her mother’s body as her mother reads or crochets.
Part of a series of works that were commissioned by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Nicole Miller’s Believing is Seeing (Ndinda) features a subject, Ndinda, who is an instructor in “laughter yoga.” She is shown demonstrating her craft by laughing uproariously without provocation.
The exhibit will be on display November 14 through December 13.