A Romantic Comedy
Curated by Sophia Sobers & Steven Pestana
February 26th - March 31st, 2020
Wednesday - Sunday: 11am-7pm
A Romantic Comedy
Curated by Sophia Sobers and Steven Pestana
Opening: Wednesday, March 4th, 2020, 6-9pm
On View: February 26th - March 31st, 2020
Wednesday - Sunday: 11am - 7pm
Featuring: Andrew Allison, Kajahl Benes, Sammy Bennett, Joe Bochynski, Adam David Brown, Lauren Comito, Victoria Crayhon, Sandra Erbacher, Kevin Frances, Garrett Gould, Kay Healy, Kyle Hittmeier, Jared Hoffman, Jon Laustsen, AJ Liberto, Haley Matis-Uzzo, Cleo Miao, Holly McGraw, Amanda Nedham, Caleb Nussear, Barbara Rink, Megan Stroech, Amanda Thackray, Estefania Velez, Justin Wood, Andrew Woolbright, Tianyi Zhang and a unique standalone exhibition by alternative art space Flyweight Projects featuring Irini Miga
Wallplay is pleased to present Sophia Sobers and Steve Pestana’s A Romantic Comedy. Opening during Armory Week, the group exhibition features innovative collaborations with emerging artists and alternative art spaces on the subject of romance in the 2020s. A Romantic Comedy explores courtship, domesticity, and the workplace—what society presents to the world versus what is hidden. Without suggesting any happy endings, the show comes together with both confusion and fantasy without the cliches of the struggling Hollywood genre.
The exhibition features over 50 works of art created by over 25 international and local artists. Victoria Crayhon’s photos of run-down cinema marquees in middle-America brandish amusing phrases dealing with the complications of break-ups and would’ve-could’ve relationships. Jon Lauststen’s full-scale absurdist fragments of domestic architecture foreshadow a curatorial arrangement at the heart of the exhibition: a quasi-domestic space composed of artistic interpretations of the home. Amanda Nedham’s life-sized bathtub made of paper, Sammy Bennett’s painting of a couch, Estefania Velez’s hi-chroma paintings of a tombstone and plants all bring a distinctive feel of lives shared (sometimes unto death).
Opposite that arrangement, Kyle Hittmeier has recreated the molding of Paul Manafort’s Brooklyn residence from the actual sales flyers left on his doorstep, and Sandra Erbacher evokes an oppressive work environment. Both propose complicated understandings of place, and in this exhibition, imagined as places where intimate relationships begin or end.
Adam David Brown’s light-sculpture Moonlight evokes the commerce and lunacy of romance as a commodity, suggesting the shifting meanings underlying iconic, targeted messaging. Similarly, Tianyi Zhang’s 99 Agreements compiles video footage in which Zhang, in various guises and situations, says the word “yes”, often leaving the viewer to wonder whether “yes” is what she actually meant.
Relationships appear throughout the exhibition, both between people and among the works themselves. Caleb Nussear’s Hands Knot takes two hands through a twisted overlapping path to their eventual meeting, while Amanda Thackray’s Valentine-hued mesh Caul Veil seems to echo the networks and trappings of intimacy.
About the Curators
Steven Pestana is an artist, educator and occasional art critic living and working in Brooklyn, NY. He earned his BA in Art History from NYU and his MFA in Digital Media from RISD. Pestana’s conceptually wide-ranging practice explores the relationship between authority and its visual language. He has exhibited in numerous venues including the Rubin Museum, Knockdown Center, Spring/Break Art Show, Satellite Art Show, BRIC, Invisible Exports, Grin Providence, Rhode Island College, and Space 776. He was the recipient of a Puffin Grant for Fine Arts and has attended residencies at Vermont Studio Center, Mass MoCA, and Santa Fe Art Institute.
Sophia Sobers is an artist and educator specializing in installations and site specific work. Sobers holds an MFA in Digital + Media from the Rhode Island School of Design and a BS in Architecture at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. She has exhibited her work nationally in institutions such as the Rubin Museum, New Bedford Art Museum, and Westmoreland Museum of American Art, and has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the University of Pittsburgh, AS220 Providence and Find & Form Space. Sobers has created public art in Newark, NJ, Providence, RI and at Pittsburgh’s historic Carrie Furnaces and has been honored to receive numerous commissions and grants, including the Puffin Foundation Grant.