Hamiltonian Gallery Presents Rives Wiley How to be Photo-Synthetic and Ellen Xu Chimerical

By Editorial Team on June 25, 2018
Photo courtesy of Hamiltonian Gallery.
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Opening Reception: Saturday, June 30 from 7pm to 9pm
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Hamiltonian Gallery is pleased to present two new bodies of work by artists Rives Wiley and Ellen Xu. How to be Photo-Synthetic and Chimerical will open with a reception on Saturday, June 30th, from 7 – 9 pm. Both artists will be in attendance.

In her newest installation How to be Photo-Synthetic, Rives Wiley puts a subversive spin on the advertising imagery associated with the cult of contemporary wellness. Sampling from the aesthetics of ubiquitous sparse white rooms, out-of-focus backgrounds and plant-centric meals prevalent in social media’s images of aspirational zen living, How to be Photo-Synthetic re-creates the visual tropes of wellness “irl”. Wiley invites viewers to walk through a disorienting installation that accentuates the visual contradictions inherent to the zeitgeist of aspirational well-being. In so doing, Wiley pokes fun at America’s current obsession with and commodification of notions of balance: in her hands, wellness is a sanatorium disguised as a temple to healing and peace.

In Chimerical, artist Ellen Xu distorts linear narrative through fragmented works, thereby evoking an uncanny sense of physical dislocation. In her film Partner, Xu presents what at first seems like a traditional love story: boy meets girl, boy lives with girl; but what if girl is not actually there, or is simply a projection of boy’s fantasies? Xu lulls her viewers into a false sense of security by setting her film in domestic spaces associated with intimacy and physical vulnerability – the bathtub, the bedroom- only to upend expectations by muddling the boundaries of digital space, dreams and reality. By metaphorically taking the rug out from under the viewer’s feet, Xu seemingly asks, “When you struggle to differentiate between what is real and what is not, which one are you more willing to accept: reality or fantasy?”

Rives Wiley (b. 1990, Alexandria, VA) holds a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design (2013). Wiley’s work has been featured in publications including The Washington Post, Vice: The Creator’s Project, The Huffington Post, Washington City Paper, Dirt DMV, ARte Fuse and Bmore Art. Her work has been exhibited in several group and solo presentations including Testpattern, School 33 Art Center, Baltimore, MD (2018); Failed Evolution, SPRING/BREAK Art Fair, New York, NY (2017); Satellite Art Fair, Miami Beach, FL (2016); Dinner Party Download, Hillyer Art Space, Washington, DC (2016) and Inter/Mission, The Pataphysical Society, Portland, OR (2016). Wiley is a recipient of a 2017 DC Commission for the Arts and Humanities Grant and completed the Vermont Studio Center Residency in 2016. Wiley is a 2016 Hamiltonian Fellow, and she lives and works in Washington, DC.

Ellen Xu (b. 1987, Inner Mongolia, China) holds a BA in Sculpture and Law from Xiamen University in Xiamen, China, and an MFA in Photomedia from the University of Washington in Seattle. A 2017 Hamiltonian Fellow, her work has been written about in The Seattle Globalist, The Seattle Times, The Jake Journal at the Jacob Lawrence Gallery, and Vanguard Seattle. Her work has been exhibited in several group and solo presentations including VSC/VCFA Alumnx Exhibition, Vermont College of Fine Arts, Montpelier, VT (2018); Governors Island Art Fair, NY (2017); BRIC Media Arts Fellows Screening Exhibition, BRIC, Brooklyn, NY (2017); Nasty Women, Knockdown Center, NY (2017) and Et Tu, Art Brute, Andrew Edlin Gallery, NY (2017). Xu was the winner of the Best Student Experimental Short in the Roselle Park Loves Shorts International Film Festival (2016) and completed the BRIC Media Arts Fellowship with the BRIC Program in 2017. She plans to participate in a residency at the Saltonstall Foundation for the Arts in Ithaca, NY in 2018.

Gallery Hours:

  • Tuesday through Saturday: 12pm to 6pm
  • or by appointment

Hamiltonian is located at 1353 U Street NW. For more information visit www.hamiltoniangallery.com.