“GROWING SIDEWAYS: SCHOOL DAYS”: Catalina Schliebener’s works will be on display September 7 through December 9 at Princeton Day School’s Anne Reid ’72 Gallery. A public reception is scheduled for September 15 from 5 to 7 p.m.
A new exhibition, “Growing Sideways: School Days,” featuring the work of Catalina Schliebener, opens at Princeton Day School on September 7, with a public reception scheduled at Anne Reid ’72 Gallery on Thursday, September 15. from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. The exhibition will be on view until December 9.
Schliebener is a Brooklyn-based, Chilean-born artist who works in a variety of formats including collage, large-scale mural, and multimedia installation. The artist begins his creative process by carefully extracting images from cartoons, coloring books, etiquette and craft guides and other found sources. They piece together playful, flowing collage strands that travel along the gallery wall, interacting with hand-drawn graphite lines and enlarged vinyl shapes. Specific objects that have been modified or adjusted in curious and appealing ways lie in various places around the gallery – drawing elements of the walls into the third dimension.
The locker doors, classroom desks, and projectors used in this exhibit all come from the Princeton Day School campus through decades of technological innovation and design. Each object offers the viewer an entry point into another visual experience and into another time and place. The title of the exhibition comes from theorist Kathryn Bond Stockton’s 2009 book, The Queer Child, or Growing Sideways in the Twentieth Century, a study of non-traditional developmental trajectories. Inspired by Stockton’s writing, Schliebener leads the viewer on a personal and relatable journey through the abstraction of childhood.
In her review of one of Schliebener’s early iterations of “Growing Sideways” in New York, NY, curated by John Chaich, critic Emily Colucci writes, “Childhood is weird. Not exactly a deeply analytical statement, I know , but it’s true. It’s hard to put your finger on childhood, that scattering of amorphous memories that we form mostly in adulthood, adding meaning to the different stages of our development. Colucci eloquently puts the finger on how Schliebener comes up against elements of time, place and identity in their artistic creation.
In the collage work on the wall, a small child in an early 20th century Norman Rockwell outfit is seen reaching for a fragment of a face recognizable as Ursula the Sea Witch from Disney’s The Little Mermaid film. A mop of hair and a cartoon crown, possibly cropped around a princess’s face, float atop a young child’s head as he hops on a trail of tentacles, flowerpots, of necklaces, ribbons and hands. This rambunctious mishmash offers viewers both culturally specific and ambiguous cues from which to interpret whatever they wish and identify with as they please.
For children of any age whose internal sense of self does not fit neatly into the majority culture or for children who may not be reflected in mainstream media, a tinkering of identifiers may occur to match internal worlds. and external. We find things we relate to everywhere and combine them in unique, exciting and beautiful ways. Theorist Jose Esteban Munoz calls this phenomenon “disidentification” and Colucci describes it in Schliebener’s work as the fabrication of a utopian space. Indeed, the colourful, expressive and strange world here is both familiar and completely new: a place to imagine.
Schliebener was born in Santiago, Chile in 1980 and earned his BA in Philosophy from ARCIS University of Art and Social Sciences in Santiago, Chile. They went on to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the same university. Their work has been exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Santiago, Chile), the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (New York), the Boston Center for the Arts (Boston), the Centro Cultural de España (Santiago, Chile), the Recoleta Cultural Center (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Center for Books Arts (New York), Catalyst Arts (Belfast, Northern Ireland), Tiger Strikes Asteroid (Brooklyn), Hache Gallery (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Gallery Hidden Garden (Buenos Aires, Argentina), Metropolitan Gallery (Santiago, Chile) and Bureau of General Services-Queer Division (New York), among others.
In 2017, Schliebener was selected to participate in the Queer Artist Fellowship program at the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Art (NY) and in 2018 in the Artist in the Marketplace (AIM) program at the Bronx Museum of the Arts (NY). They are represented by HACHE GALERÍA in Argentina.
Princeton Day School is located at 650 Great Road. Due to the possibility of changes to the COVID-19 protocol, the exhibition reception and events will be updated at pds.org/gallery. To schedule a private viewing, email [email protected]