“Idiolects” Group show at Ulterior Gallery


Miyuki Akiyama / Jonathan Ehrenberg / Michael Aaron Lee

July 28 – September 9, 2023

Reception: Friday, July 28, 6—8 pm


Symbols, words, images. These elements float through our daily lives, each of us perceiving and interpreting them differently. The same everyday landscape that we all experience is uniquely and individually understood. Every sound, smell, and texture—every element of the world—speaks differently to each of us.

“Idiolect” is defined as “an individual’s unique use of language, including speech.” This exhibition reveals the ways in which artists and their works speak in unique ways that may be peculiar to the viewer. The three artists in this exhibition, Miyuki Akiyama, Jonathan Ehrenberg, and Michael Aaron Lee explore their daily encounters with familiar (or sometimes unfamiliar) notations and representations in their works. Akiyama paints symbols and letters that she appropriates from sources such as grocery store ads, newspapers, and children’s books, layering them on fabric, and interspersing them with the texture and design of the material. Ehrenberg’s white wall hanging sculptures are made of paper clay and populated with objects that seem both recognizable and strange. Anthropomorphic forms that seem to be in nascent stages of evolution combine with recognizable human body parts, which together seem forever in the process of becoming. Lee’s paper collage constructions are created with cut paper that is built up into layered reliefs that are completely colored over with graphite. The flat patterned works form systematic structures that reference American folk art and craftmanship. In all of these works, letters, forms, and textures are embedded into and onto the surfaces, forming signals that oscillate between comprehensibility and unknowability that direct the way we perceive information and construct our understanding of the world.