After a long delay due to the pandemic…Elephant is pleased to present “The Wilderness Within,” a solo site-specific installation by Jennifer Celio. The gallery hosted an artist reception on February 5, 2022. The exhibition will remain on view through February 26, 2022. Check website for Covid guidelines before visiting the gallery.

Detail of “elephant foot” ashtray in my site-specific installation; 2021; 14 x 11 x 13 inches; wood, artisan paper, vintage plastic ashtray, acrylic on artist pencils, kneaded eraser shavings 

In the unique exhibition area at elephant, Celio transforms the intimate room into an immersive version of a suburban house garage that displays mundane trappings as well as the bizarre and unexpected. The sculptural works and simple objects speak to entangled lines of inquiry into exotic animal trophy hunting, family ties and secrets, the potent influence of pop culture in childhood, and the pressing urgency of an environmental tipping point.

Celio pulls from her experiences at her grandparents’ suburban home, which was typical for a tract house in Southern California, both inside and out. There was one crucial distinction-the exotic animal heads that hung with a discarded air on the walls of the garage. Visits to their home often meant a trip into the garage for something, and what resulted was both repulsion and fascination to the mounted heads of a rhinoceros, a water buffalo, and an African gazelle collecting dust high up in the rafters.  Inside their home, other bodily souvenirs were scattered throughout, including the bizarre sight of an elephant foot ashtray, the skin dry and cracked, the plain brass ashtray unused despite the fact that her grandfather smoked. Naively, she assumed he had hunted these animals a long time ago and they had become just another decoration in their home. Only when older did she find out, to her great surprise, that it was her grandmother who had gone on the African safaris with her previous husband, and she herself had shot and preserved those animal parts.

On view: February 4—26, 2022; Gallery hours Saturdays 12—4 pm and by appointment; Remember to confirm with gallery all covid protocols and guidelines -(proof of vaccination and masks MAY be required).

What: “The Wilderness Within,” Jennifer Celio
Where: Elephant, 3325 Division St., Los Angeles, CA, 90065