November 17, 2014

Stranger than Fiction

SMU Meadows School of the Arts
Erika DeFreitas, right there, between here and over there (in the living room no. 2), 2007. Archival photographic print, dimensions variable. Photo courtesy of the artist.

“Absurdity in everyday, commonplace settings” is explored in Stranger than Fiction, showing at the SMU Meadows School of the Arts Pollock Gallery November 14 through December 13. Through video, paintings and textiles, artists Julia Brown, Erika DeFreitas and Nicole Miller explore history, politics, commerce and industry and reveal underlying themes of humor, violence, exploitation and exchange.

Julia Brown’s video L’entartage shows various politicians being hit in the face with pies while publicly speaking, illustrating how a vaudevillian gesture has transformed into an act of aggression. Her work American Vernacular includes six vignettes featuring a group of individuals embodying the characteristics of 19th–20th century “Black Americana” household objects. 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. The artist or her mother weeps while a disembodied hand collects tears in a vial; the artist and her mother are shown ingesting each other’s tears. The artist has also included a series of photographs depicting 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.

Nicole Miller’s Believing is Seeing (Ndinda) features Ndinda, an instructor in “laughing yoga,” an “exercise” that is performed by groups of people who engage in sessions of forced laughter that is intended to provide the same benefits as spontaneous laughter. Ndinda is shown demonstrating her craft by laughing uproariously without provocation, emphasizing the surreal nature of the practice.

The opening reception of Stranger than Fiction will be held Friday, November 21, 6–8pm.

An exhibition walkthrough with the curator and artists Julia Brown and Erika DeFreitas will take place Saturday, November 22 at 1pm.

The Pollock Gallery is located on the first floor of the Hughes-Trigg Student Center, 3140 Dyer St. on the SMU campus in Dallas. Call T 214 768 4439 or visit our website for information.

About the artists
Julia Brown earned an MFA from CalArts in 2006 and a BA in studio art from Williams College in 2000. The 2006 recipient of the Dedalus Foundation MFA Painting Award, she has exhibited in New York at Ogilvy + Mather, Art in General, The Kitchen and Pace University; in Los Angeles at LACE and Supersonic at Barnsdall Gallery; and at Via Farini in Milan, Kunsthalle in Dusseldorf, Form Video in London and Blank Projects in Cape Town. A current artist fellow in the Core Program at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, Brown has attended numerous residencies, including Via Farini-in-Residence, the Whitney Independent Study Program, the Fondazione Ratti Corso Superiore di Arti Visive and the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture

Erika DeFreitas, based in Toronto, explores the influence of language, loss and culture on the formation of identity through performance, public interventions, relational exchanges, photography and textile-based works. A graduate of the Master of Visual Studies program at the University of Toronto, she has exhibited her work in group and solo exhibitions in Canada and the US at such venues as Gallery 44 in Toronto, Ontario; the Art Gallery of Windsor in Windsor, Ontario; The Print Studio in Hamilton, Ontario and the Houston Museum of African American Culture.

Nicole Miller, originally from Tucson, Arizona, is based in Los Angeles. She is a graduate of CalArts and holds an MFA from the USC Roski School of Art and Design. She has had solo exhibitions of her work at the Centre d’Art Contemporain Geneva, The Highline in New York and Kunst Werke in Berlin as well as in group shows such as the Hammer Museum’s Made in L.A.Fore at the Studio Museum in Harlem and the first Dallas Biennale. Her work is in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Hammer Museum and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

Curated by Sally Frater, Pollock Curatorial Fellow.

For more information, contact:
Sally Frater, Pollock Curatorial Fellow
T +1 214 768 4439 / [email protected]


Stranger than Fiction at SMU Pollock Gallery

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