Stephanie Syjuco / MATRIX 190 / Image Trafficking
October 7, 2022 – January 8, 2023
Using the materials and methods of photographic reproduction, artist Stephanie Syjuco researches museum collections and archives to explore America’s colonial history and the construction of its national identity. At the Wadsworth—established in 1842 and among the first art museums in the country—Syjuco studied the extensive object files and photographic archives of its founding collection of Hudson River School paintings, as well as the bequest of Elizabeth Hart Jarvis Colt, heir and widow of gun manufacturer and Hartford native Samuel Colt. These grand portraits, romanticized landscapes, and dramatic history paintings convey complex fables and shifting racial and patriarchal narratives. In the installation, the artist repositions these stories utilizing various photography-based modes of dissemination and reproduction—color transparencies, black-and-white photocopies, scholarly publications, photographic murals, and new digital photography—that focus, confuse, and conceal imagery to produce new readings. By investigating the art collection through the lens of museum departments tasked with its administration and care, Syjuco considers how museum stewardship stands as a metaphor for the United States itself, a country in a constant state of invention.
October 6 | Artist Talk
November 10 | MATRIX Past and Present: Stephanie Syjuco and Byron Kim
November 17 | Curator Talk with Patricia Hickson
January 6 | Gallery Talk with Erin Monroe and Jared Quinton
MATRIX 190 program is supported by the Wadsworth Atheneum’s Contemporary Coalition: Dr. Duffield Ashmead IV and Mr. Eric Ort, Coleman H. and Jo Champlin Casey, The Cheryl Chase and Stuart Bear Family Foundation, Michele and Halsey Cook, Mr. and Mrs. Raul de Brigard, Nancy D. Grover, Laura R. Harris, Marcia Reid Marsted and Jeffrey G. Marsted, Agnes and William R. Peelle, Jr., Susan and Joel Rottner, and Linda Cheverton Wick and Walter Wick.
Image: Stephanie Syjuco (American, born Philippines, 1974), Master, Photographed (Albert Bierstadt, ‘In the Mountains,’ 1867, oil on canvas, acc. no.1923.253, Collection of the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art), 2022. Archival pigment print; 40 x 50 in. Courtesy of the artist, RYAN LEE Gallery, and Catharine Clark Gallery.