Good Neighbors explores the many possible notions of home and community—from memories of a particular place or object, to gatherings of like-minded individuals, to the unexpected juxtapositions that come from living in close proximity. Featuring a broad spectrum of work by eleven Philadelphia-based artists, Good Neighbors charts a course between public and private spaces, personal recollections and shared histories.
The tension between the inevitability of change and the pull of memory is the backdrop for many of the works on view, as in paintings by Becky Suss of her grandparents’ mid-century modern home, in Kay Healy’s stuffed fabric interiors, or in Christina P. Day’s sculptures of vintage household objects covered in delicate patterns. Drew Leshko’s exacting replicas of buildings near his home and studio point to neighborhoods in transition, while photographs by Sarah Kaufman show an urban swimming hole that seems impervious to the passing of time.
Home is equated to family in other works, such as Seneca Weintraut’s family portrait encrusted with stained and fraying fabric pieces, and in Cari Freno’s quiet, spare videos that obliquely reference family roles and relationships. Elsewhere, abstract concepts are more prevalent: Lewis Colburn’s collage-inspired sculptures combine solid craftsmanship with local lore, Kelsey Halliday Johnson’s double-exposure photographs attempt to capture the “aura” of home, and Raphael Fenton-Spaid uses humor and vibrant, artificial surfaces to skew established conventions and draw attention to the thin line between public and private lives.
The private-public divide takes on a political yet poignant edge in Emily Smith Satis’s lush watercolor portraits of members of Philadelphia’s transgender community. Making overtures, building trust, and creating lasting bonds is an important part of Smith Satis’s process for painting these portraits, as it is for Good Neighbors as a whole. By touching on universal themes of family, intimacy, nostalgia, and domesticity, the exhibition emphasizes the common ground that exists between artists and audiences.
Good Neighbors reflects the passionate commitment to community outreach and civic engagement of our late President, Bobby Fong, which the college continues to embrace and foster.
Christina P. Day
Kelsey Halliday Johnson
Emily Smith Satis