Jenny Calivas: Surface Thing

January 17 – March 10, 2023
Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery

Artist Talk + Q&A

Reception: Thurs, February 23, 5-7 p.m.
Artist Talk: Thurs, February 23, 6:30 p.m.

Exhibition Catalog

Collect Jenny Calivas: Surface Thing
exhibition catalog, Contact Sheet 220

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Jenny Calivas’s Surface Thing exhibition comprises three photographic projects made between 2018 and 2021, Mouthing, Self-Portraits While Buried, and Birth Rehearsal, all of which portray various types of self-portraits. The show presents works about the body and the earth in ways that are spiritual, feminist, and ecological through a humorous and existential perspective. Calivas’ black and white images can unexpectedly taunt us, at once generous and withholding, still and active. Her pictures are part of photography’s long conversation about the tension between chance (the decisive moment) and control (the staged). The weight of this exhibition, Self-Portraits While Buried, features photographs where she has buried herself in the earth from which she sometimes seems to re-emerge as well. These photographs live in the realm of female experience and feminist making; the work suggests a new creation myth, a maternal purging or dissolving of the original form to make way for a new body.

Related Programming

An opening reception and artist talk with Jenny Calivas will be held on Thursday, February 23, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. in the Kathleen O. Ellis Gallery. The exhibition catalog, Contact Sheet 220 will be available for purchase after the reception.

About the Artist

Jenny Calivas was born in Maine and lives in Los Angeles, CA. In 2018, she earned her MFA in Photography from The Yale School of Art where she was awarded the Ward Chaney Memorial Prize in performance. In 2016 she was a participant at The Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been exhibited at David Zwirner in New York City, LTD Los Angeles, Huxley Parlour in London, Buoy Gallery in Kittery, Maine and the Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockland, Maine. Recent publications featuring her work include Speciwomen, Paper Journal, and HyperAllergic. She is a Lecturer in Visual Arts at Princeton University and has also taught at Wesleyan University, Parsons School of Art and Design and the Borough of Manhattan Community College.

sidebar image: Portrait of artist Jenny Calivas courtesy of Lacey Lennon