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Building Houses in Our Homes

  • Spillway Collective 1400 North American Street, 19122 (map)

Building Houses in Our Homes
June 13th - July 6th
June 13th: Opening Reception 6pm - 9pm

Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) Alum Sophie Brenneman wrote a poem entitled Static, which acts as a catalyst for uniting the various investigations and specifications of space and structure in this diverse body of work. An exhibition of PAFA Alumni, Building Houses in Our Homes reconsiders the familiar, even comfortable, notions of house and home, and instead presents their unheimlich undertones, reframing them as actions performed out of necessity—reactions to and against the untamable. The show’s title and accompanying poem both reference isolation. The works included in this show allude to isolation in a variety of ways, whether by referencing the inaccessibility of human-to-human interaction as a result of the virtual houses we build and inhabit, or by imaging the body-as-house and the psychological impacts contained therein. Is our impulse to build a structure within an existing one an exercise in closing ourselves in; an act of voluntary isolation for self-preservation? Do we build to evoke the illusion of control, or are these our attempts to curate a semblance of what home once was?


There are no
channels on
TV screens anymore,
we’re just watching
sad commercials loop
and holding
our own hands.

We know nothing
is free of meaning
anymore, meaning
we’re just withering
and withouting,
building houses
in our homes.

There are no
outsides in
our daytimes anymore,
we’re just crying
into alphabet soup,
listing regrets in noodle letters.


Steve Basel:
Sophie Brenneman:
Emily Elliott:
Seth Madden
Kate McCammon:
Dave Pettengill:

Earlier Event: June 13
Thinking of a Place
Later Event: June 13
2019 Graphic Design Senior Show