Close Encounters, 2019
A solo exhibition by Lauren Ruth
Practice Gallery, Philadelphia
Tongues stick out and eyeballs surveil the room from mid-air. In Close Encounters, a playful sculptural installation at Practice Gallery, Lauren Ruth amplifies sensory organs by transforming their material and scale. Casting the viewer as a subject, Ruth reflects on the physicality of the body and the increasingly porous boundaries between the digital and material worlds. An iris may open a window to the soul, but it also observes, scans as uniquely as a fingerprint, and cements our identity.
Elsewhere, fires and floodwaters invade the gallery, a reference to the Camp Fire and floods that recently affected Ruth’s community in Chico, California. Encircled by the elements, visitors are invited to sit and relax with a cool drink in precarious leisure.