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Mary in Me

Los Angeles | Dec 17- Jan 21
Nina Klein solo exhibition GarageNo 1

Mary in Me

From childhood, Nina Klein accompanied her family to Evangelical churches that were set up in unconventional spaces. One of these churches was a former bowling alley that became the Valley Vineyard. Another, she vividly recalls, a nightclub turned church on Sundays. Here, the Evangelical sermons were spoken over audiences in a large windowless room furnished with bar stools and black leather booths.

These unusual church spaces set the tone for Nina’s religious upbringing, where binaries of saved and unsaved, holiness and sin, us and them were transgressed.

In her solo exhibition, Mary in Me, the artist takes inspiration from her memory of the uncanny church spaces she attended in childhood and recreates a quasi church space in yet another unusual space- a garage turned gallery. The garage provides fertile ground to upend the binaries constructed in religious doctrine and the gendered body.

From the garage to gallery to church space, doctrines of Christianity are shored up where signifiers of body, domestic space, religion and childhood are weaved together to playfully skew perception of front and back, inside and outside, and past, present and future. Childhood play adorns the presently aging body– tugging one back to the past, in contrast to religion which pulls our sights to the after life.

The bodily works contend with time and constructed gender expectations which have been reinforced by religion throughout history. The works in the exhibition focus on the biological clock, both voraciously acknowledged in scripture and contemporary culture. In the Bible, the carnal body is referred to as a temporary vessel, and our life within it, a vapor. In contemporary culture, youth is a woman’s greatest currency, and women are pressured to perform youthful, conventional beauty into late age. Nina focuses on our attempts to have agency over our bodies and lives beginning in childhood through childbearing years under a backdrop of religious ideology.

Written by Artist