January 2019 Exhibitions at IA&A at Hillyer

By Editorial Team on January 7, 2019
Wokr by Danni O’Brien. Courtesy of IA&A at Hillyer.
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Currently on view through January 27, 2019.
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Hillyer kicks-off 2019 with three new solo exhibitions opening on January’s First Friday, featuring Samantha Sethi, Salvatore Pirrone, and Danni O’Brien. Sethi’s Permanence layers natural materials and processes, such as ice and erosion, together with technological interventions to explore our experience of the natural world, our impact on it, and its relationship to our built environment. Pirrone’s You and Me is an installation working with themes of memory, material and immaterial where the artist builds a group of sculptures that simultaneously inhabit recollections from his childhood and proclivities of adulthood. O’Brien’s Play Date explores childhood landscapes through camp, craft, and humor. The immersive set of candy colored, fuzztastic objects echo forms of both playground equipment and O’Brien’s memory of her own awkward, pubescent body.

Permanence  |  Samantha Sethi (Baltimore, MD)
In her work, Sethi explores our experience of the natural world, our impact on it, and its relationship to our built environment. These objects and systems examine the ways in which the world we see and move through can be modeled visually and experientially.

By layering natural materials and processes, such as ice and erosion, together with technological interventions, such as reproduction and isolation, these works are at once both actions and images, both the event at hand and the record or trace used to represent it through time.

These works reference a broader view of our world as a landscape both inhabited by and studied by humankind, altered even as it is observed—understanding the world as simultaneously the location and the material of our pursuit of meaning.

Samantha Sethi’s interdisciplinary practice incorporates installation, sculpture, drawing, and video. Through these various forms, the artist explores concepts of ephemerality, entropy, human impact on the environment, and our experience of time. Sethi received her MFA from American University and BFA from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. Her work has been exhibited widely, including at the Torrance Art Museum in Los Angeles, CA; the Creative Alliance in Baltimore; the Washington Project for the Arts in Washington, D.C.; Field Projects, NYC; and Hilbert Raum project space in Berlin. Sethi’s collaborative project Solar Power/Solar System was commissioned last spring for Baltimore’s Light City Art Walk 2018. She is currently an adjunct professor at University of Maryland Baltimore County and an Artist-in-Residence at the Creative Alliance in Baltimore, MD where she will have her next solo exhibition opening January 26th.

You and Me   |  Salvatore Pirrone (Upper Marlboro, MD)
You and Me is an installation working with themes of memory, material and immaterial where Pirrone builds a group of sculptures that simultaneously inhabit recollections from his childhood and proclivities of adulthood. Concrete, wood, acrylic and sawdust mirror his life as a professional fabricator while hard candy, cone shapes and the color blue recall distinct imagery and delights from his younger days. This work rests between the explicit and the indifferent, lyrical and direct, big and small, near and far, material and immaterial.

‘one day from my childhood sticks out in my mind as different. I must have been six or seven years old when I began to chip away at the corner of my grandmother’s home with a pointed, metal rod. The tip of the rod was sharp and with each swing came the desire to do 10 more. I was young, and for the first time I felt in control; I was the most powerful person in the world, full of purpose and ideas. With this tool in my hand, I could turn something into something new and different. I remember being so pleased that I could transform such a thing; it was my first conscious attempt to make sense of the world and my role in it. I was testing the relationship between my body, action and experience, and I had to engage a building material to do it.’

Salvatore Pirrone is an artist and educator living in the DC metro area.  His studio practice exists at the intersection of art and design, with a particular interest in themes of ‘Work’, ‘Play’, ‘Identity’ and ‘Domesticity’.  He worked in the architectural offices of Carl Abbott and Huff + Gooden Architects before launching his own studio practice, where he is engaged in a variety of projects ranging from custom furniture, residential design and fine art.  Salvatore is an Assistant Professor of Interior Design at Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia. He holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University of Florida and a Master of Fine Art degree from Parsons the New School for Design in New York.  Since relocating to the Washington Metro Area in 2009, Salvatore has shown with Arlington Arts Center, Atlas Performing Arts Center, CulturalDC’s Mobile Art Gallery, Sandy Spring Museum, Transformer, Maryland Art Place and the Dittmar House at Marymount University.

Play Date  |  Danni O’Brien (Baltimore, MD)
Play Date explores childhood landscapes through camp, craft, and humor. The immersive set of candy colored, fuzztastic objects echo forms of both playground equipment and O’Brien’s memory of her own awkward, pubescent body. Plush “paintings” and skins emerge from the nostalgic and kitschy process of latch hook rug making. This technique is employed as a vehicle to grapple with notions of femininity, domesticity, and craft, as well as for its titillating and tactile physical qualities.

The laborious latch hooking process results in robust, fibrous images containing imagery of personal, adolescent girlhood motifs and memories. Materials for the fibrous segments are sourced from collections of vintage wool on eBay and cheap plastic rope from the dollar store. This peculiar framework results in off kilter color schemes and animated textural shifts. Precise wood working, haphazardly assembled ceramics, and found objects join the conversation to transform the plush skins into whimsical, dynamic forms. The assembled props in this mixed media landscape are meant to be evocative, cheeky, and invite touch and play.

Danni O’Brien is a queer womyn maker and art educator currently based in Baltimore, Maryland. Her work is rooted in play, collecting, and constructing, and is informed by an education in assemblage sculpture, fiber arts, and ceramics. She marries construction and wood working skills with traditionally feminized and domesticated systems such as stitching, beading, and rug making to compose her dually hard and soft objects. O’brien has recently been awarded artist residencies at PLOP (London, UK), The Maple Terrace (Brooklyn, NY), Art Farm (Marquette, NE) and Proyecto Ace (Buenos Aires, Argentina). Her sculpture work has been shown at Little Berlin (Philadelphia, PA), Terrault (Baltimore, MD), Juicebox Gallery (Kansas City, MO) and published in Architectural Digest, ArtMaze, and Hiss Mag. She is currently preparing for an upcoming solo show with School 33 in Baltimore, MD.

Gallery Hours:

  • Tuesday-Friday: 12pm to 6pm
  • Saturday-Monday: 12pm to 5pm
  • and by appointment

IA&A at Hillyer is located at 9 Hillyer Ct. NW. For more information, visit http://athillyer.org/.