(GLASSBORO, NJ) -- Rowan University Art Gallery presents Multiplicities, a dynamic new group exhibition featuring Naomieh Jovin, Tommy Kha, Wendy Red Star, and Leonard Suryajaya. Opening on November 7, this exhibition will present photography that through humor, theatrics, and playfulness reframes and fractures conventional, binary perceptions about culture, race, and gender. Multiplicities will be on view from November 7 - December 21, 2022.
In Multiplicities, each artist explores stereotypes of their own cultural heritage and origins in order to break down misconceptions and shift the narrative of what it means to be who they are as multidimensional Americans. Naomieh Jovin, a first-generation Haitian-American photographer, utilizes appropriated photos from old family albums collaged with her own photographs to illustrate how we carry the experiences of our past and our family’s past in our bodies. Tommy Kha’s theatrical photographs balance precariously between comedy and tragedy, being and performing, and the mundane and the absurd to examine how we construct belonging and otherness. Wendy Red Star uses herself in her self-portrait series as a subject capturing the humor and playfulness integral both to Crow culture that pokes fun at the boundaries between conceived authenticity and stereotypical portrayals of Native subjects. Leonard Suryajaya tests the boundaries of intimacy, community, and family by placing his subjects in elaborately staged settings full of competing patterns and colors that create photographs that are tender and critical, bound up with the struggles of familial authority and self-identity. Through their diverse, interactive, and layered work, all four artists reexamine conventional perceptions about culture, race, and gender identities.
There will be an opening reception for Multiplicities on November 17 from 5:30pm-7:30pm.
Additionally on view will be Expanded View, an ancillary showcase of selected photographic works from university students nationwide. A collaboration between Rowan University Art Gallery and the University’s photography program, Expanded View will feature approximately thirty works that will be selected for display between November 16 - December 10, 2022 in conjunction with the Multiplicities exhibition. Juried by multidisciplinary artist and photographer, Genevieve Gaignard, Expanded View will feature photography that both formally and conceptually question ideas of representation while focusing on how a sense of play and theatricality complicate and transcend assumed narratives of identity.
About the Artists
Naomieh Jovin is a first-generation Haitian-American photographer. She utilizes appropriated photos from old family albums and incorporates her own photographs to illustrate resistance and intergenerational trauma, and how we carry the experiences of our past and our family’s past in our bodies. Finding her mother’s photo album two years after her death prompted many conversations for Naomieh about her familial history, her mother’s upbringing, and life in Haiti before the family migrated to the US. She saw meaning in connecting her past to her present through her photographs as a form of healing and acceptance. The subconscious similarities between her mother’s photos and her own work highlight an intergenerational connection to familial history and her current self.
Jovin received her BFA in Photography and Digital Arts from Moore College of Art & Design in 2017. Her work has been featured in The Nation and Buzzfeed. She has photographed for the New York Times and Vogue Italia. She was selected as a Lens Culture 2021 Critics Choice winner, she was awarded an artist in residence at the Tilt Institute, and she was recently named a 2021 PEW Fellow in the Arts.
Tommy Kha’s theatrical photographs balance precariously between comedy and tragedy, being and performing, and the mundane and the absurd to examine how we construct belonging and otherness. Utilizing photographic techniques of absence and erasure, Kha creates cardboard cut-outs and prosthetic masks of his own face, complicating and fracturing his representation. Kha’s work often maps the connections between his family, their history, and his hometown through staged photographs featuring himself, his mother, and signifiers of the Mississippi Delta Chinese Community. Representing experiences of the Asian Diaspora and images of iconic Americana, the artist asks how photography might become a means by which he can be truly seen.
Tommy Kha (b. Memphis, TN) is a photographer currently working between Brooklyn, New York and Memphis, Tennessee. Kha holds an MFA in Photography from Yale University. His first major publication will be released by Aperture early next year. He is a recipient of the Next Step Award, Foam Talent, Creator Labs Photo Fund, and most recently was named an NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Photography Fellow. Kha’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Aperture, and Vanity Fair, among other publications. He has exhibited at LMAK Gallery, Deli Gallery, Foley Gallery, Georgia Scherman Projects, Aperture, Signal Gallery, and ALLGOLD at MoMA PS1 Printshop, New York; Ryerson Artspace, Toronto; Johalla Projects, Chicago; Yongkang Lu Art, Shanghai; and Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Germany.
In Wendy Red Star’s early self-portrait series, Four Seasons (2006), she used herself as a subject capturing the humor and playfulness integral both to Crow culture and to her artwork. In the series, Red Star poses within constructed dioramas filled with inflatable animals and artificial materials, a project that pokes fun at the boundaries between conceived authenticity and stereotypical portrayals of Native subjects. The portraits encourage self-reflection, making viewers aware of the deeply ingrained stereotypes of Native Americans in popular culture. Red Star draws on feminine stereotypes constructed and reified through popular culture. She is driven by the complex narrative of her identity as an Apsáalooke woman and by an awareness of the difficulties that Native women encounter navigating the art world. In this sense, her series represents a strategic mode of intervention into the conventions of portraiture and can be understood through its signifiers of race, cultural rootedness, and female agency.
Baahinnaachísh or Baaeétitchish (One Who Is Talented), references the Apsáalooke name Wendy Red Star received while visiting home. It is the original name of her grand-uncle, Clive Francis Dust, Sr., known in the family for his creativity as a cultural keeper.
Wendy Red Star (b.1981, Billings, MT) lives and works in Portland, OR. She has exhibited in the United States and abroad at venues including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum, The Drawing Center, New York; Fondation Cartier pour l’Art Contemporain, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, France; Portland Art Museum; Hood Art Museum, Hanover; St. Louis Art Museum; Minneapolis Institute of Art; the Frost Art Museum, Miami; Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago; The Broad, Los Angeles; Santa Cruz Museum of Art & History; The Rockwell Museum, Corning; and at the Anderson Collection at Stanford University. Her work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth; the Denver Art Museum; the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia; the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; the Birmingham Museum of Art; the Williams College Museum of Art; the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester; and the British Museum England among others. In 2017, Red Star was awarded the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and in 2018 she received a Smithsonian Artist Research Fellowship. Red Star holds a BFA from Montana State University, Bozeman, and an MFA in sculpture from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is represented by Sargent's Daughters.
Leonard Suryajaya uses photography to test the boundaries of intimacy, community, and family by placing his subjects in elaborately staged settings full of competing patterns and colors. The results are photographs that are tender and critical, bound up with the struggles of familial authority and self-identity. Many of Leonard’s investigations are rooted in his upbringing as an Indonesian citizen of Chinese descent, as a Buddhist educated in Christian schools in a Muslim-majority country, and as someone who departed from his family and his culture’s definitions of love and family. Leonard explores these tensions in the everyday interaction, in the chance juxtaposition of culturally-coded objects, and in the disruptions stirred by queer relations.
Leonard Suryajaya (Chicago, IL) received his BFA from California State University, Fullerton in 2013 and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. He also studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. His work has been exhibited at Art Institute Chicago; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Photography Chicago; Arsenale Nord, Venice; Benaki Museum, Greece; Photoforum Pasquart, Switzerland; National Library, Singapore; Wrightwood 659, Chicago; Aperture Gallery, NY; The Block Museum, Chicago; Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago; Frost Museum, Miami. His work is included in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Block Museum, Joan Flasch Artist Book Collection, Chicago; Vontobel Art Collection; Mana Contemporary and Center for Photography at Woodstock. He has received awards for his work from Aaron Siskind Foundation Award, Artadia Awards, Robert Giard Foundation Fellowship, CENTER Excellence in Multimedia Award, the New Artist Society Award, James Weinstein Memorial Fellowship, Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Prize for Emerging Artist, The Santo Foundation Fellowship.
Rowan University Art Gallery, located at 301 High St W in Glassboro, New Jersey, serves as a vibrant cultural destination for South Jersey, the Rowan community, and the surrounding region. Our mission is to provide a platform for discourse on best practices in contemporary art by professional artists, curators, and scholars through the presentation of interdisciplinary art exhibitions, panel discussions, guest curatorial projects, and other public programming.
The gallery is open Monday through Friday (10:00am - 5:00pm) and Saturday (11:00am - 5:00pm). Free parking is available in the parking garage on Mick Drive near the Gallery.