Burning Down the House: Ellen Brooks, Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin

Burning Down the House: Ellen Brooks, Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin brings together work by these three contemporary artists for the first time. Long known for using photography to narrative ends, Brooks, Callis, and Cowin, who emerged simultaneously in 1970s Southern California, challenge both the role of women and their chosen medium in multi-layered, provocative images. Taking its title from the eponymous Talking Heads song, the exhibition features a series of photographs from the 1970s to the early 2000s. Their photographic tableaux are like illicit reveries and performances—”shakedown dreams in broad daylight,” as the Talking Heads might have called them—that reflect a multitude of private torments and obsessions. Ranging from small individual photographs to large-scale sequences comprised of several prints, the installation freely intermixes work by the three artists, exploring issues of female identity, relationship, intimacy, domestic conflict, and gender performance.

Burning Down the House: Ellen Brooks, Jo Ann Callis, Eileen Cowin is curated by Claudia Bohn-Spector and Sam Mellon, organized by the Pasadena Museum of California Art, and supported by the Pasadena Arts League.