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Annette Kelm at California Museum of Photography at UCR ARTSblock

Fictive kinships mimic familial relationships but are ultimately defined on their own terms. Fictive Kin presents works by three contemporary artists who all construct photographic tableaux, and are united by their cultivation of modes of seeing that question conventions behind the photographic representation of three-dimensional objects. Sarah Conaway, Annette Kelm, and Kim Schoen harness the visual language of commercial art and advertising. At its most effective, advertising renders the photograph a signifier that we subconsciously identify as assuming an authoritative voice. It serves a clear purpose and delivers an inscrutable message. In the work of these artists, similar strategies are used to subversive, absurd, and philosophical ends. They communicate the arbitrariness of inherited conventions, solicit humor, and render anew the vernacular visual environment that so engulfs us that we may be unaware of it.