Charles Ryan Becker, Eric Arneson Blair, Soo Bin Cho, Jonah Ifcher, Kaitlyn Penchina, Bella Pettengill, Caelan Reeves, Waverly Wang, Jessica Yim

Appearance of the Body

September 5 - October 1, 2023

Sprague Gallery

A cylinder vase with photo transfer of a nude atop a coffee table with two stems of calla lilies inserted into their anus holds two stems of calla lilies. The vase is placed on the same coffee table cluttered with mundane objects including mails, pills, a ball, a pair of glasses, a pile of a journal and printed materials, masks, a candle, antibacterial wipes, and more.
Jonah Ifcher, Untitled (object), 2023, photo transfer on ceramic, 10 x 5 x 5 inches. Photo courtesy of the artist.

Sprague Gallery is pleased to announce Appearance of the Body, a 5C group show of works by Charles Ryan Becker (Pomona ’23, art and art history), Eric Arneson Blair (Pomona, ’22, art), Soo Bin Cho (Pomona ’23, philosophy and minor in art), Jonah Ifcher (Pitzer ’24, art), Kaitlyn Penchina (Scripps Fall ’23, neuroscience and interdisciplinary humanities), Bella Pettengill (Pomona ’24, studio art and cognitive science), Caelan Reeves (Claremont McKenna ’24, English and history), Waverly Wang (Harvey Mudd College ’23, computer science and media studies), and Jessica Yim (Scripps, ’25, art and art conservation).

The selected works explore the body which is strange, queer, mysterious, and in some ways hybrid or cross-species and cross-media and, without hesitation, present it to its surroundings and to the viewer. The complexity of the body is that it may not be a new body, as the works bring forth memory and function that the body carries. The body is then less a new body and more a newly appeared body. The exhibition is a rather archeological moment that locates the body that has always been there, strange, queer, mysterious, hybrid, cross-species, and cross-media.

Charles Ryan Becker’s Father and Son (2023) is a figure and a relationship made whole by and repeatedly reconsidered through fragments and duplicates in shifted functionality.

Eric Arneson Blair’s Mantis (2023) is "a composition first" and then "a naturally occurring material deposit, or a dollhouse, or a stage set" for a narrative of the dead mantis’s "fierce past" and "pathetic" present (EAB).

Soo Bin Cho’s Walker Beach, 2022 (2023) and Wig Hall, 2023 (2023) use the graininess that is unique to Risograph printing to reflect and highlight nostalgia. The unknown chair that one day appeared on the open lawn known at The Claremont Colleges as Walker Beach remains enveloped in mystery and memory.

Jonah Ifcher’s Untitled (object) (2023) is a cylinder vase with photo transfer of the artist as a nude atop a coffee table with calla lilies inserted into his anus. The work experiments with cross-species communication and non-reproductive sex and brings into inquiry the idea of function of the interaction and of the body. Ifcher says, "The viewer may ask: If not for reproduction, then what function does sex serve?" And the vase that holds the flowers sits on the coffee table on top of which the artist’s body once held the flowers.

Kaitlyn Penchina’s Symbiosis (2022) imagines a parallel between the symbiotic relationship of bird-of-paradise flowers and fungi living among their roots and that of The Claremont Colleges. The flower contains images of the 5C campuses, as well as of the Village.

Bella Pettengill’s Nudist Beach (2023) is a self-portrait through which the artist remembers a burial of a hamster off the shore and "reflect[s] on the discomfort of time passing" (BP). The human figure is also a strange, hairy creature.

Caelan Reeves’s kim and bill (2023), through the binary construction of weft and warp in weaving, examines the fabric of gendered sexuality and signification. That the "intricate turns of weft and warp [are] best viewed at a distance" is an additional commentary (CR). The work takes the image from Picnic (Joshua Logan, director, 1955, United States) and the text from Steven Cohan’s 1991 essay, “Masquerading As the American Male in the Fifties: Picnic, William Holden and the Spectacle of Masculinity in Hollywood Film.”

Waverly Wang’s Harmless Creatures (2023), through a story of two characters, confronts skepticism about and fear toward "monsters" and those with mental illness (WW).

Jessica Yim’s Flower and Screw (2021) is a study on contrast. The flower and the screw, similar in form and strange to each other in nature, are, in the image, contiguous.

Appearance of the Body opens on September 5 and continues through October 1, 2023. Gallery hours are Monday through Friday, 8AM to 5PM, with additional hours during events on evenings and weekends. The exhibition is open to the public.

The exhibition is curated by Arts Director Julia Hong of the HMC Department of Humanities, Social Sciences, and the Arts.

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