In Front of My Backyard, 2020-21
Acrylic, graphite, string on panel, mixed media installation

The exceptional circumstances of 2020 have provided an opportunity to reconsider indoor and outdoor areas as they relate to private, public, and personal space. We are confronted with the impending questions of what exactly those spaces are, how we occupy them, and whether we can reconstruct their associated rules of participation and engagement. Joshua Kochis and Julia Callis began this process of deconstruction before the onslaught of the pandemic, developing a collection of material inspiration to serve as a shared starting point.

On a painted panel, Julia configures a window scene with images from her personal experiences and interiors. Painted from the perspective of standing outside looking in, the viewer is confronted with the unaltered intimacies of life at home. The greenish hue of her house’s exterior subtly transitions into surrounding green spaces, hinting at the vague boundaries we call yards. Joshua approaches the theme from an equally intuitive viewpoint: beginning with weathered materials found in local wooded areas and vacant lots near his studio, his assemblages blur the line between nature and the built environment.

The pair of artists weave these firsthand encounters and material explorations into a cohesive installation, physically offering multiple vantage points of the work presented from both inside and outside of the fenced area. Each perspective offers an exclusive look at certain sections of the installation while simultaneously obstructing others. It’s impossible to comprehend the totality of visual information from any single point of view – proposing the thoughtful consideration necessary in approaching complex personal, social, and political issues unique to our current landscape on a local, national, and international scale.