The Rowan University Art Gallery presents “Multiplicities”


originally published: 04/11/2022

(GLASSBORO, NJ) — Rowan University Art Gallery present Multiplicities, a dynamic new group exhibition featuring Naomieh Jovin, Tommy Kha, Wendy Red Star and Leonard Suryajaya. Opening November 7, this exhibition will feature photography that, through humor, theatricality, and play, reframes and shatters conventional, binary perceptions about culture, race, and gender. Multiplicities will be visible from November 7 to December 21, 2022.

In Multiplicities, each artist explores stereotypes of their own cultural heritage and origins in order to shatter misconceptions and change the narrative of what it means to be who they are as a multidimensional American. Naomieh Jovin, a first-generation Haitian-American photographer, uses appropriate photos from old family albums pasted together with her own photographs to illustrate how we carry the experiences of our past and our family’s past into our bodies. Tommy Kha’s theatrical photographs balance precariously between comedy and tragedy, being and playing, and the banal and absurd to examine how we construct belonging and otherness. Wendy Red Star uses herself in her series of self-portraits as a subject capturing the humor and playfulness both inherent in Crow culture which mocks the boundaries between conceived authenticity and stereotypical depictions of Indigenous subjects. Leonard Suryajaya tests the boundaries of intimacy, community and family by placing his subjects in elaborate backdrops filled with competing patterns and colors that create tender and critical photographs, tied to struggles for family authority and self identity. Through their diverse, interactive and layered work, the four artists re-examine conventional perceptions of culture, race and gender identities.

Multiplicities is co-organized by Danna singer, States of Chadand Marie Salvantein conjunction with the Rowan University Photography Program.

There will be an opening reception for Multiplicities November 17 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Additionally, Expanded View will be featured, an ancillary showcase of selected photographic works by university students nationwide. A collaboration between the Rowan University Art Gallery and the University’s Photography Program, Expanded View will feature around 30 works that will be selected for display between November 16 and December 10, 2022 as part of the Multiplicities exhibition. Jury by multidisciplinary artist and photographer, Genevieve GaignardExpanded View will feature photographs that both formally and conceptually challenge ideas of representation while focusing on how a sense of play and theatricality complicates and transcends assumed narratives of identity.

About the artists

Naomieh Jovin is a first-generation Haitian-American photographer. She uses appropriate photos from old family albums and incorporates her own photographs to illustrate intergenerational resistance and trauma, and how we carry the experiences of our past and our family’s past into our bodies. Finding her mother’s photo album two years after her death sparked many conversations for Naomieh about her family history, her mother’s upbringing, and life in Haiti before the family migrated to the United States. She saw meaning in connecting her past to her present through her photographs as a form of healing and acceptance. The subconscious similarities between her mother’s photos and her own work highlight an intergenerational connection to family history and her current self.

Jovin received his BA in Photography and Computation Arts from Moore College of Art & Design in 2017. His work has been featured in The Nation and Buzzfeed. She has photographed for The New York Times and Vogue Italia. She was selected as a Lens Culture 2021 Critics Choice winner, she was named Artist-in-Residence at the Tilt Institute, and she was recently named a 2021 PEW Fellow in the Arts.

tommy Kha’s theatrical photographs balance precariously between comedy and tragedy, being and playing, and the banal and absurd to examine how we construct belonging and otherness. Using photographic techniques of absence and erasure, Kha creates cardboard cutouts and prosthetic masks of her own face, complicating and fracturing her portrayal. Kha’s work often maps the connections between his family, their history, and his hometown through staged photographs featuring himself, his mother, and signifiers of the Mississippi Delta Chinese community. Representing experiences from the Asian diaspora and images from iconic Americana, the artist asks how photography might become a medium through which he can be truly seen.

Advertise with New Jersey Stage for $50-$100 per month, click here for more info

Tommy Kha (born in Memphis, TN) is a photographer currently working between Brooklyn, New York and Memphis, Tennessee. Kha holds a master’s degree in photography from Yale University. His first major release will be released by Aperture early next year. He is a recipient of the Next Step Award, Foam Talent, Creator Labs Photo Fund, and most recently was named a NYSCA/NYFA Artist Fellow in Photography Fellow. Kha’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Aperture, and Vanity Fair, among other publications. He has exhibited at LMAK Gallery, Deli Gallery, Foley Gallery, Georgia Scherman Projects, Aperture, Signal Gallery and ALLGOLD at MoMA PS1 Printshop, New York; Ryerson Artspace, Toronto; Johalla Projects, Chicago; Yongkang Lu Art, Shanghai; and Kunstverein Wolfsburg, Germany.

In Wendy Red Star’s first series of self-portraits, Four Seasons (2006), she used herself as a subject capturing the humor and playfulness inherent in both Crow culture and her works. In the series, Red Star poses in constructed dioramas filled with inflatable animals and man-made materials, a project that mocks the boundaries between engineered authenticity and stereotypical depictions of Indigenous subjects. The portraits encourage self-reflection, sensitizing viewers to deeply rooted stereotypes of Native Americans in popular culture. Red Star taps into female stereotypes constructed and reified through popular culture. She is guided by the complex narrative of her identity as an Apsáalooke woman and an awareness of the difficulties Indigenous women face in navigating the world of art. In this sense, her series represents a mode of strategic intervention in the conventions of portraiture and can be understood through its signifiers of race, cultural grounding, and female agency.

Baahinnaachísh or Baaeétitchish (He who has talent), refers to the name Apsáalooke that Wendy Red Star received during a visit to the house. It is the original name of his great-uncle, Clive Francis Dust, Sr., known in the family for his creativity as a cultural guardian.

Wendy Red Star (b. 1981 in Billings, MT) lives and works in Portland, OR. She has exhibited in the United States and abroad in places such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Brooklyn Museum, the Drawing Center, New York; Cartier Foundation for Contemporary Art, Domaine de Kerguéhennec, France; Portland Museum of Art; Hood Art Museum, Hannover; Saint-Louis Art Museum; Minneapolis Art Institute; the Frost Art Museum, Miami; Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art; The Large, Los Angeles; Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History; The Rockwell Museum, Corning; and the Anderson Collection at Stanford University. His work is in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Brooklyn Museum, New York; the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth; the Denver Art Museum; the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum of Art at Hamilton College; the Baltimore Museum of Art; the Fralin Museum of Art at the University of Virginia; the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University; the Birmingham Museum of Art; the Williams College Art Museum; the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester; and the British Museum England among others. In 2017 Red Star received the Louis Comfort Tiffany Award and in 2018 she received an Artist Fellowship from the Smithsonian. Red Star holds a BFA from Montana State University, Bozeman, and an MFA in sculpture from the University of California, Los Angeles. She is represented by the daughters of Sargent.

Leonard Suryajaya uses photography to test the limits of intimacy, community and family by placing his subjects in elaborately staged settings full of competing patterns and colors. The results are tender and critical photographs, tied to struggles of family authority and self-identity. Many of Leonard’s investigations are rooted in his upbringing as an Indonesian citizen of Chinese descent, as a Buddhist educated in Christian schools in a Muslim-majority country, and as someone estranged from family and communities. culture’s definitions of love and family. Leonard explores these tensions in everyday interaction, in the fortuitous juxtaposition of culturally coded objects, and in the disruptions brought about by queer relationships.

Leonard Suryajaya (Chicago, IL) received his BFA from California State University, Fullerton in 2013 and his MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2015. He also studied at the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. His work has been exhibited at the Art Institute Chicago; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art; Chicago Museum of Contemporary Photography; North Arsenal, Venice; Benaki Museum, Greece; Photoforum Pasquart, Switzerland; National Library, Singapore; Wrightwood 659, Chicago; Aperture Gallery, New York; The Block Museum, Chicago; Shane Campbell Gallery, Chicago; Frost Museum, Miami. Her work is in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Block Museum, Joan Flasch Artist Book Collection, Chicago; Vontobel Art Collection; Mana Contemporary and Photography Center in Woodstock. He has received awards for his work from the Aaron Siskind Foundation Award, Artadia Awards, Robert Giard Foundation Fellowship, CENTER Excellence in Multimedia Award, New Artist Society Award, James Weinstein Memorial Fellowship, Claire Rosen and Samuel Edes Prize for Emerging Artist, from the Santo Bourse Foundation.

Rowan University Art Gallery, located at 301 High St W in Glassboro, New Jersey, is a vibrant cultural destination for South Jersey, the Rowan community and the surrounding area. Our mission is to provide a platform for discussion of best practices in contemporary art by professional artists, curators and scholars through the presentation of interdisciplinary art exhibitions, panel discussions, guest curatorial projects and other public programs.

The gallery is open Monday to Friday (10 a.m. – 5 p.m.) and Saturday (11 a.m. – 5 p.m.). Free parking is available in the parking garage on Mick Drive near the Gallery.

William E. Bennett