Through montage and multiple exposures, Matthew Cronin re-imagines home furnishing catalogue photographs by J.C. Penney, an American department store chain in the 1970s, in a bid to examine relationships between comfort, class, and tradition.
In these new, speculative images, he weaves found photos like fibres into a cohesive whole—a fabric, a construction. Or perhaps, a fabrication. Each photograph here is an invention; a lie. If one lingers for too long with a particular image, the fictive tableaus begin to unravel. Objects cast no shadow, and shadows no longer correspond to nearby objects; patterns spill off fabrics and onto adjacent surfaces; walls, furniture, fixtures, and plants lose their materiality, bleeding onto, and into, one another. The soft white light and brilliant hues that at one time had enhanced the many items that populate the photographs has now become too saturated, too garish.
Where they had once been intended to entice, conjuring up ready-made fantasies of suburban aspiration, these uncanny interiors now repel, as they reveal their artifice. Like the satisfaction promised by the advertisements that inundate our lives daily, the comfort that these alluring interiors initially promise slowly dissipates.
Curated by He Yining