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Bushes, 2009 Archival Pigment Print © Leigh Merrill

560 Second Street
Oakland, CA 94607
April 27th, 2013 - June 9th, 2013
Opening: April 27th, 2013 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

East Bay
photography, digital, installation, video-art, conceptual, landscape, sculpture
Free Admission


April 27 – June 9, 2013
Gallery | FICTIONAL/FAMILIAR | Cybele Lyle, Leigh Merrill, Emma Spertus

Reception Saturday, April 27, 2013 6 – 8PM

Swarm Gallery is pleased to present “Fictional/Familiar,” a grouping of new work by Cybele Lyle and Leigh Merrill in the gallery, and Emma Spertus in the project space, on view from April 27 to June 9, 2013.

Fictional/Familiar features two and three-dimensional work drawing on architecture, photography, and everyday objects to create an allegory of perspective and sense of place. To contemplate this subject matter is to contemplate what is retained in the recognizability of the familiar within the fictional. Very little of the original landscape, architecture and objects remain unchanged here, in the translation from formal motifs to the artists’ subjective lens.

Cybele Lyle uses large-scale panels, openings and photo-based imagery to create illusionary convergences of architecture and landscape. She invites viewers to contemplate and theoretically enter the constructed space from all angles. Lyle’s work moves between individual and collective experience, connecting her personal narrative to broader social concerns. What may be experienced here is less the act of perception, and more an act of engagement, as her “mirror of reality” simulates an alternative environment where all perspectives are welcome. 

Leigh Merrill’s fabricated photographs and video piece offer detailed descriptions of built environments, borrowing from different architectural and landscape styles to reflect cultural ideas of beauty and perfection. She researches, explores, and photographically documents suburban and commercial neighborhoods and, through a process of digital reassembling, creates unreal spaces. Her works are also illusory in nature, at first resembling straight photographs. On second look, they collapse into visual hyperbole, requiring one to question one’s anthropogenic environments.

Emma Spertus likewise reconfigures ordinary spaces and objects through fabricated facades, illusionary depth, and photo-based re-presentation. Elements of our mediated environment, which the artist regards as symptomatic of human socialization and commerce, are formally represented sculpturally and architecturally. Possessing an undeniable humor and irony, as they are not the objects they represent, Spertus’s work presents an altered viewing experience through which accepted conventions of objecthood and imbued meaning are elegantly unhinged. 

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