Jenny Drumgoole & Ted Partin: PHL 19125/34
Curated by Carl Gunhouse
Opening Friday, September 8, 6–9 pm
Jenny Drumgoole, in her artistic alias as Soxx, invites the world to play and imagine in her videos. With her character's distinctive matted hairline, vivacious mismatched attire, and an aura of ceaseless positivity, Soxx invites the people of Philadelphia—be they neighbors on the street, mail carriers, or local sanitation workers—into her universe of insanity and childlike possibility. The candid willingness of these everyday Philadelphians to join in with Soxx, even amidst their daily routines, is a testament to the profound connection Drumgoole establishes. It reveals an innately human desire to partake in collective creativity, and the need to find magic and hope in the everyday.
In the spring of 2020, during the initial outbreak of COVID-19, Ted Partin started photographing in the Port Richmond section of Philadelphia. The photographs are seemingly naturalistic but are made through spontaneous collaboration between Partin and the people he meets in Port Richmond. Working with an 8x10 view camera, Partin’s photographs capture with rich descriptive clarity the moments that bring the community together; an annual game of stick-ball between friends, a mother and son relaxing on beach chairs with their pet chihuahua, young people running through an open fire hydrant on a hot summer day. The images create a multifaceted story that conveys unity and optimism in the community but hints at the ever-present opioid crisis looming in the city of Philadelphia.
Both artists, in their unique mediums, have a shared ethos and venture into the often daunting realm of engaging with strangers, turning fleeting encounters into lasting impressions. Their collaborations don't merely document; they celebrate, uplift, and immortalize the spirit of a community. As viewers, we are privileged not just to witness but to feel an intrinsic part of this world—a world where even the most ordinary figures become familiar friends and get to be regulars, where the sanitation workers and people with horses know our names.