Elijah Ober’s solo exhibition brings together two bodies of concurrent work that each center the lives of pest species—snails and squirrels. Ober sees these animals as our first interaction with the greater ecosystem. Learning about them uncovers information about the lands on which we reside and the ways we utilize and relate to those ecosystems and resources.
CALCIUM presents two digitally animated videos about snails’ hunt for a key shell-health supplement: calcium. Inspired by a small snail crawling up his leg while in his 3rd floor studio, Ober became fascinated by the tenacity of this small creature. Through imaginary narratives, he explores their translucence and mutability, their hermaphroditic power, and their alchemical shell building.
Your Future Ex Squirrelfriend is a collection of carved Styrofoam squirrels. While observing the squirrels in his yard, Ober found in them a rich source of intrigue. He noticed their overlooked physical grace and their school-like behavior, appearing and disappearing like a hypervigilant superorganism. These small creatures seemed to embody many dichotomies. They are brave and fierce, yet soft and small. They are cute, yet disdained by many. These sculptures show them in their most self-aware state: playful, diligent, caring, and mischievous.
Elijah Ober is a sculptor and animator based in Maine. He studied Art and Anthropology at Bowdoin College. He has attended residencies at the Ellis Beauregard Foundation, Monson Arts, and Gardenship (New Jersey). His work has recently been shown at the Portland Museum of Art, Cove Street Arts, Elizabeth Moss Galleries, and New System Exhibitions, and was selected for CMCA’s 2020 Biennial. Elijah is the recipient of a 2021 Maine Arts Commission Project Grant.
This exhibition is made possible in part by a grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts and the Maine Arts Commission, and independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.