The Woskob Family Gallery is a space for contemporary arts and culture in downtown State College, PA.
Sidney Mullis and Elise Warfield
OCTOBER 12 – NOVEMBER 4, 2017
Opening Reception – Thursday October 12, 2017 | 5 – 7 PM
From playful papier-mâché sculptures to vibrant figurative paintings, the two- and three-dimensional works by recent Penn State graduate Sidney Mullis (MFA ’16) and current BFA candidate Elise Warfield explore coming of age in today’s American landscape. While cheerful and exuberant, the works also provoke discomfort and hint at uneasy undercurrents beneath the idealistic suburban dream, revealing anxieties about the body, gender, and sex. Skinnydipping illuminates the artists’ experiences at the threshold between youth and adulthood. The exhibition was selected from an open call for student curatorial proposals.
In work that is at once edgy and humorous, Sidney Mullis playfully and incisively explores coming-of-age in a gendered society. In Purse That I Don’t Use Anymore, she immortalizes the purse she no longer needs, having committed to a purse-free life. Must Be Taken Out Three Times a Day explores the artist’s childhood awareness of the pervasiveness of machismo. The artist reimagines that experience by enclosing the brightly colored phallic form within a sculptural work. Suburban Sure N’ Secure, with its tongue-in-cheek title, refers back to the artist’s childhood memories of growing up in suburban neighborhoods. In all of the work, Mullis takes an irreverent approach to sensitive subject matter that engages and bends the expectations of her audience.
In her drawings and paintings, Elise Warfield explores the hidden subtexts of American life. Figures shield their eyes and faces or are otherwise concealed from view, suggesting narratives that extend beyond the confines of the canvas or page. The works conjure the artist’s own memories while referring to art history and the current political climate. Last Man Standing was constructed using google earth images and memories of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. The young man’s face is obscured by a white cloth in a gesture that references religious imagery throughout art history. Love Me Love Me Not reimagines the classic childhood game—typically associated with young girls—as being undertaken by a male. Onshore refers to the widely distributed photograph of the White House press secretary wearing the American flag pin upside-down (historically used as a Naval distress signal). In all her work, Warfield plays with multiplicity and explores the potential of imagery to contain more than one meaning.