Locks Gallery is pleased to present Understories, an exhibition of new and recent films, sculpture, and holograms by Philadelphia-based artists Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib. Known for their fantastical moving images and alternate realities, this will be the artists’ fourth solo show at the gallery. This show focuses on the theme of nature - growth, nurture, cultivation, cycles. The show’s title ‘understory’ refers quite literally to the underlying layer of vegetation, specifically the trees and plants between the forest canopy and the ground cover.
At the heart of the exhibit is the film Field Companion, a work set in a microcosmic forest, based loosely on the pine barrens that dot Southern New Jersey near the artists’ home. Like many, the duo found refuge and solace throughout the COVID-19 pandemic hiking and foraging in these remote, natural landscapes. As America’s social fabric frayed deeply over recent years, they considered forest ecosystems in terms of symbiotic and collaborative relationships that sustain coexistence and community. In Field Companion, the forest has been condensed and transplanted to a terrarium in the artists’ studio. Twelve cubic feet of pines, shrubs, ferns, moss, fungus and carnivorous plants are reflected infinitely in the terrarium’s mirrored walls and captured with a motion-controlled camera and specialized macro lens that dramatically shift the scale and perspective of this miniature landscape. This exhibition will not only feature the film - which was shown as an immersive experience last year at Rowan University Art Gallery then Locusts Project in Miami - but also an accompanying terrarium.
Also featured will be Pink Carnations - an experimental reflection of a Japanese American family’s history at an internment camp during WWII. Through family photos, historical films, home movies, original 16mm footage and oral accounts from family members, Pink Carnations portrays a deeply poetic narrative spun from a mutating garden vegetation.
Nadia Hironaka and Matthew Suib have worked as artistic collaborators since 2008. Their installation After Provisional Monument for the New Revolution, a panoramic moving image, was on view in 2011 at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia. Their piece The Fall (2010) was acquired by the Philadelphia Museum of Art for their permanent collection.
Hironaka’s films and video installations have been exhibited internationally in PULSAR (Venezuela); Rencontres Internationals (Paris/Berlin); The Den Haag Film and Video Festival (The Netherlands); The Center for Contemporary Arts (Kitakyushu, Japan); The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Morris Gallery; The Black Maria Film Festival, The Donnell Library (NYC); The Fabric Workshop and Museum (Philadelphia); The Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia); The Galleries at Moore College of Art (Philadelphia); and Vox Populi, (Philadelphia). Hironaka’s second solo museum exhibtion The Late Show was recently presented at Arizona State University Art Museum.
Suib has exhibited installations, video/sound works and photographs internationally at venues including the Philadelphia Museum of Art; Kunstwerke Berlin; Mercer Union (Toronto); The Corcoran Gallery of Art (Washington D.C.); P.S. 1 Contemporary Art Center (NYC); The Institute of Contemporary Art (Philadelphia); and the 2007 Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art. His 2006 project Purified By Fire has been commissioned for exhibition in Miami, Chicago, Toronto and Paris. In 2011, Suib was awarded a Pew Fellowship in the Arts.