LMAKgallery is pleased to present Close Third Person, a group exhibition of recent MFA graduates of the University of Connecticut. Over the past three years this group of female artists have been working side by side, each developing their own voice. Initially shown at the William Benton Museum of Art and now on view at the gallery, we are proud to feature the works by Kelsey Miller, Claire Stankus, Erin Koch Smith, Jelena Prljević, and Kaleigh Rusgrove.
Here are some things that are known. Kelsey Miller lives by the sea and has a dog named Izzy. Claire Stankus likes running (sometimes) and thinking about shapes. Erin Koch Smith emails herself a lot and likes to read. Jelena Prljević finds power tools and nature equally restorative. Kaleigh Rusgrove likes baking blondies and dystopian nightmares.
This exhibition isn’t some cherry on top of their achievements—it is an effort to find solid ground amongst sinkholes, pieced together from shared fragments of separate lives. The title, Close Third Person, was inspired by an interview with Joan Didion in the Paris Review where she discusses eschewing first person in Play It As It Lays, writing mostly in “a ‘close third’…very close to the mind of the character.”
Suddenly one night I realized I had some first person and some third person and I was going to have to go with both, or just not write a book at all. I was scared.
Like a voice that wavers, breaks apart and strengthens with confidence in the middle of a sentence, this show is about the gap between voices, and the struggle to use the perspective that distance can provide while holding onto the power of the first person. It is about the hazy space between what we see and can’t understand, between what is said and what is assumed, between what we can change and what we can’t, and the challenge to hold it all together with one collective voice.