Alicia Piller: Within 👀

5814 Wilshire Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90036
Jan 28, 6 PM - 9 PM — ends May 07, 2023
Alicia Piller: Within, the artist’s first solo museum exhibition, is a new, sitespecific installation of multimedia works that investigates the relationship between the macro and micro perspectives within systems of knowledge, meaning, and bodily form. Within every community there are multiple identities and histories collectively holding space. Within every person there are universes that together work to ensure heart beats, breath . . . life.

Exhibition curator jill moniz conceived of Within “to develop a project with Alicia Piller that would amplify her practice of both rooting and elevating the connective matter of art and identity. Her work takes us inside cultural ideas and narratives, then she gives us the expansive 36,000-foot view of our relationship to the earth – again as matter, as elemental – shaped and shaping our existence toward something profound and inspiring. Within, as a sensorial installation, makes primary these fundamental aspects of Piller's work that form language, engagement, and understanding.”

Within is Piller’s invitation, or rather demand, for viewers to visually connect abstracted form with the complexities of human experience. In the installation, the artist disrupts horizon lines – engaging the ceiling, walls, and floor – in an immersive discovery of proportion and perception. She uses resin, latex, xeroxed imagery, dried plants, stones, and found objects to create cosmic and biological landscapes that challenge the positionality of the object and the viewer. There is no reductionism, only cross-sections of memories and ideas the artist constructs by ritualistically zooming-in and out to intersect geography, time, and space. Piller works to deconstruct and recode imagery and material ciphers that normalize, categorize, stagnate, and mute. She pulls apart mundane materials to create the richness and depth of visual storytelling that bridges time and place, reminding us that, internally and externally, we are part of fantastical worlds shaped by necessity, emotion, and wisdom.

As an ethnographic pursuit, Within visually composes elided and erased stories that Black women carry inside themselves as chroniclers. Disappeared peoples, scorched ground, and canonical abuse are explored in relation to astral phenomena, earth, wind, and water, illuminating Piller's calculus of secular epochs measured against spiritual reckoning that excavate truth while building artifacts of lived experience and material realities. In the artist’s own words: "Being understood is something that we all hope for; working with a curator like jill moniz is one of those special moments where the complexities of my art practice are fully seen, what an honor. So excited to have the opportunity to not only watch my work come to life through the eyes of someone who has the ability to step into the depths of my intricate world of materiality and abstraction, but to have the chance to show my work in an institution like Craft Contemporary that respects and appreciates craft practices within a contemporary context."