Susan Leopold Attic, 2016 Mixed media lightbox 17 x 15 x 10 inches Courtesy of the artist and Elizabeth Harris Gallery, NY
This group exhibition explores the real, imagined, or implied narratives connected to interior spaces. Several of the artists in Interior Monologues depict real places—some populated by specific characters—while others invent new places based on their own experience or imagination. Many of the works suggest hidden histories or embedded memories and emotions. The interiors devoid of people are like empty stage sets waiting for actors to animate them. Whether public or private, all of these interior settings are activated by the presence (or absence) of humans.
Interior Monologues is a multi-media show, incorporating painting, sculpture, drawing, collage, video, and site-specific installation. Participating artists are: Matt Bollinger, Erin Diebboll, Susan Leopold, Dana Levy, Summer McCorkle, Anne Muntges, Casey Ruble, and Paul Wackers.
Works by (left to right) Dana Levy, Paul Wackers, and Erin Dieboll. Photo by Etienne Frossard.
Dana Levy Intrusions – A Ghost From The Future, 2014–2019 Single channel video, four vintage photographic prints & frame 4:00 minutes Courtesy of the artist and Braverman Gallery, Tel Aviv
This work explores architectural space through time. It was initiated in 2014 during the Wave Hill Winter Workspace Residency in the Bronx. The artist filmed herself walking through several of the rooms at Wave Hill House, and combined the footage with found vintage photographs of the same rooms from the 1920s. The video plays on a monitor with the photographic prints mounted to the front. By superimposing still and moving images of the same interiors from different time periods, she animates the still vintage photographs with her own moving presence, and melds the past with the present.
The spaces—now emptied of their former contents and open to the public—were once private rooms in a mansion inhabited by the likes of Mark Twain and Arturo Toscanini. One of the rooms housed an armor collection that was later donated to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The only things that remain the same today are architectural features—walls, windows, and fireplaces. The artist appears like a ghost from the future, walking through the same rooms almost a century later, as if intruding into the 1920s photos.
The soundtrack is from Alfred Hitchcock’s Rebecca (1940) by Franz Waxman, recorded by The Royal Scottish National Orchestra. The house in the film resembles Wave Hill House as both mansions are located on cliffs. In Rebecca the housekeeper guides a new wife through the rooms of the mansion, relating details about the former wife who died mysteriously.
Erin Diebboll Amir’s House, 2017 Pencil and marker on newsprint Courtesy of the artist
“We form strong attachments to the places we call home. Years later we can imagine walking through a former residence and finding everything that made an impression on us still in place. To explore these mental structures I create large-scale drawings that map familiar spaces from memory. I draw places from my own history as well as places I have never visited, described to me by others. These drawings reconstruct an idea of a place, where all the rooms of a house and everything within can be seen at once and different periods of life exist simultaneously.
Amir’s House is based on the recollection of my father-in-law, who described to me his childhood home in Tel Aviv. His memory of the house that his father built is still strong, his recall of details excellent. His mathematical mind calculated the meters of every room and when I later drew out the floor plan the numbers all added up. The house was demolished almost 50 years ago to make room for an apartment building but the palm tree by the street still stands tall.”
– Erin Diebboll
Works by Susan Leopold. Photo by Etienne Frossard.
Attic, 2016 Mixed media, electrical lights, and wood box
Backroom, 2016 Mixed media, electrical lights, and wood box
Showers, 2018 Mixed media, mirror, electrical lights, and wood box
Rehearsal, 2018 Mixed media, mirror, electrical lights, and wood box
Meeting, 2018 Mixed media, electrical lights, and wood box Courtesy of the artist
“My most recent work addresses how urban spaces often have multi-purpose uses and act as gathering points for the human experience. These box constructions blend different, yet similar locations found throughout the city, becoming architectural representations that seem familiar, yet are loci of imagination and memory.
A renovated church is a rehearsal space one evening and a place of worship the next morning. The shift transforming a public shower room is seamless in the way that it is an institutional setting, yet at the same time possesses an uncomfortable intimacy. My aim is to capture the odd beauty and mystery of these often impersonal locations where the residue of human activity is embedded.
The intricately detailed miniature worlds merge small-scale models, photographs, mirrors and lights to establish a sense of complex architectural space. This combination of materials also creates the illusion of rooms that expand beyond the boundaries of the box, adding space and continuing the narrative. The unspoken history contained in these spaces preserves something of the individual experience—both dreams and realities—of which a collective life is composed.”
– Susan Leopold
Installation view of from Skewed Perspectives. Photo by Etienne Frossard
Anne Muntges From Skewed Perspectives, 2013-2019 Mixed media Courtesy of the artist
Anne Muntges is an artist who makes highly detailed drawings, prints, and installation art based on concepts of the home. She adapted part of her ongoing work, Skewed Perspectives, for this site-specific installation.
“In my work I use imagery of the home to question ideas about architectural space, the nature of our interaction with it, and our perception of it. The home is an environment that creates atmosphere and structure through its constructed elements and decorations. These elements directly inform my drawing and sculpture so that the pieces can challenge the way we think about the spaces we inhabit.
The installation series, Skewed Perspectives, is a home I built room by room over the course of three-and-a-half years. Each room includes the actual objects of home: real furniture and decorative accoutrements. Each object was primed white and hatch marked with black acrylic paint pens of various widths. Each part of every surface has a mark and every mark of the original work is made by hand. In this installation I created a new chevron wallpaper specifically for the space. This part of the installation is hand printed—a shift from the original work.
The installation exists both as a real, tangible place, and as a black and white drawing, the hatch marks causing the eye to shift between the dimensionality of the objects and the flatness of the lines. The entire space can be seen as a three-dimensional drawing.”
Paul Wackers Hidden in Plain Sight as It Has Always Been, 2018 Acrylic on canvas Courtesy of the artist
“The work I make is of things and places I encounter throughout my day or keep close to me. I use the process of creating the paintings or objects as ways to understand what they are beyond the familiar impressions. Many of the subjects are things that seem very familiar but through the process become confused or unreal because of the associations created within the picture. I let the images take charge at some point in the process and allow things to bend and flow as needed. It is in those moments that the work comes into its own and is a step beyond a clear and simple representation.
This painting came about as a composite of parts of the house I grew up in and my current apartment, so it has this sense of hidden truths and familiarity of place while not being any specific place. It’s a thought I have about how memories are slippery like that. When a person reflects on the past it can only happen in the present, and is complicated by the influence of perspective and can’t be trusted. “
– Paul Wackers
Summer McCorkle Song for 360 Court Street, 2014 Single-channel video 4:57 minutes Courtesy of the artist
“Song for 360 Court Street is a single channel video piece that was made as an artist in residence at Residency Unlimited in Brooklyn, New York. It responds to the unique situation of having both private apartments and the Residency Unlimited gallery space built within the architectural structure of a former church. Filmed on site, four singers perform a hymn based on a canticle written by St Francis of Assisi in 1224, in four-part harmony, separately in four different spaces, all of which reside within the church walls. All four singers come together at the end and sing in unison from the balcony space within the gallery.”
– Summer McCorkle
Casey Ruble Three live men were found among the supposed dead bodies. (New Orleans, La., 1866), 2016 Silver-pigment paper collage Courtesy of the artist
The New Orleans Riot of 1866 took place during the period of Reconstruction, when Republicans attempting to implement the Civil Rights Act of 1866 were brutally attacked by Democrats, who opposed the measure. The violence broke out at the site of the Mechanics’ Institute, now home to a luxury hotel, and resulted in the slaughter of over thirty black residents in the nearby area and the injury of many more.
At once the house became a sort of shrine. (New York, N.Y., 1900), 2016 Silver-pigment paper collage Courtesy of the artist
A Mexican restaurant now stands in the location of the New York Riot of 1900. In the wee hours of August 13, Arthur Harris, an African American laborer, was drinking in a Tenderloin District bar. When his girlfriend arrived to retrieve him, she was accosted by Robert Thorpe, a white plainclothes police officer who attempted to arrest her for solicitation. Harris, believing his girlfriend was being attacked, fatally stabbed Thorpe. The riot began two days later at Thorpe’s wake, when hundreds of white men and women flooded the streets and indiscriminately attacked African Americans as police officers stood idly by.
In a short time a group of Indians did break the doors and enter the court house. (Custer, S. Dak., 1973), 2019 Silver-pigment paper collage Courtesy of the artist
After Darld Schmitz, a white man, was charged with second-degree manslaughter for what many saw as the premeditated murder of John Wesley Bad Heart Bull, members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) organized a rally to protest the lenient charges and recent others like it. Over two hundred Native Americans—including Bad Heart Bull’s mother, Sarah—arrived, in the midst of a blizzard, at the Custer County courthouse on the day of Schmitz’s preliminary hearing. Tensions grew when state troopers denied them entry into the public building, and violence erupted when a deputy shoved Sarah Bad Heart Bull down the courthouse steps. In the ensuing chaos, the courthouse and a nearby building were set ablaze by police teargas canisters. Twenty-seven Native Americans were charged with inciting a riot and arson. Sarah Bad Heart Bull was sentenced to one to five years in prison; Darld Schmitz was acquitted by an all-white jury of Sarah’s son’s murder. The courthouse was relocated, and its old building, after being restored to its original condition, was turned into the Custer County Courthouse Museum, where visitors can see the courtroom exactly as it appeared on that fateful day.
“These works are from The Terrible Speed of Mercy, a series of silver- pigment paper collages depicting locations across the country where race riots have erupted. Although a few of these riot locations still bear the scars of their past, most are seemingly ordinary today—empty parking lots, industrial buildings, hotels, strip malls. The collages therefore have a quiet eeriness, like B-roll footage for true-crime television, as well as an emotional charge. Together, they offer a portrait of America viewed through the lens of our history of violence, and suggest that although the present may be unmoored from the past, it will never become perfectly free from it.
Taking their titles from contemporaneous newspaper reports, these monochromatic works are constructed from a handmade, reflective silver paper that has been metal-dried to produce subtle stains and splotches on the surface. The size, color, and weathered texture of the pieces make them look somewhat like headstones, and their reflectivity gives them a ghostliness that alludes to the tension between our society’s amnesia and remembrance of past violent episodes. The sculptural aspect of the works positions them in an odd spatial netherworld between illusion and three-dimensional reality, suggesting that what we think we see may not always align with what is actually there. “
– Casey Ruble
Works by Matt Bollinger. Photo by Etienne Frossard.
Matt Bollinger is a painter who makes stop-motion animations, often based on fictionalized accounts of his own life experiences. His films are derived from paintings he creates, alters, photographs, and animates using a computer program, adding an original soundtrack. Many of his scenes unfold in various interior settings.
Dawn in Her Ciera, 2019 Flashe and acrylic on canvas Courtesy of the artist and Zürcher Gallery, New York
“Dawn in Her Ciera is another image related to an upcoming animation (although a different one from the gun cabinet). Dawn lives in her car while trying to get back on her feet. She works at a CVS in Kansas City. This painting depicts the start of her day, getting ready for work with her Cutlass Ciera in a lot where she won’t be bothered for parking overnight.” – Matt Bollinger
Gun Cabinet, 2019 Flashe and acrylic on canvas Courtesy of the artist and Zürcher Gallery, New York
This is a recent painting Bollinger created to help him write and create a new film. He explains, “The gun cabinet is based on the one that my parents own. It’s a scene that I’ll probably develop in a new film project. The scene is a Missouri home. The guns are all ones that were passed down in my family, mostly from the side who are farmers in Kansas. They used the guns for hunting, which they did (and my uncle still does) for food. At the same time, I’m very aware of how troubling this image is.”
Apartment 6F, 2017 9:00 minutes Courtesy of the artist and Zürcher Gallery, NY
“The idea for Apartment 6F came from my life (I live in the apartment which served as model for the scenes in the animation) and from my interest in 70s horror films like Rosemary’s Baby. I wanted to combine the mundane everyday with something heightened that seemed to burst through from the character’s imagination—a visual manifestation of an interior state. In the work, a freelance web designer is left alone in his New York apartment after his wife goes on a trip. He meets a new neighbor who invites him to a house warming that same night. After drinking too much, social anxiety and possibly unnatural occult influences cause him to spiral into dark visions, which are suspended only when his wife returns.
I created Apartment 6F by first making 54 small paintings on canvas. Then, with the painting on a copy stand, I modified each one a small amount and took a photograph. I would repeat this process sometimes hundreds of times per canvas. When I sequenced the jpegs in the computer, I could create the illusion of movement. As things move around in my videos, they leave trails and obscure imagery that was there previously.
Overall the project took about three months to complete. I spent the majority of that time making the paintings. Though it took much less time to finish, I see the sound as being of equal importance as the visuals in this video. I worked intensively for a few weeks scoring and performing the music, recording sounds, and then making the final mix. Images, though moving, seem only half alive until the sound enters.”