Leah DeVun | Resemblance

18 May 2024 – 29 Jun 2024

Regular hours

12:00 – 17:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00
11:00 – 18:00

Free admission

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New York
New York, United States


Travel Information

  • Q59 to Grand/61st, B57 to 61st/Grand, Q39 to Grand/61st
  • Jefferson L
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Mrs. is pleased to announce Resemblance, the gallery’s first exhibition with photographer Leah DeVun.


Mrs. is pleased to announce Resemblance, the gallery’s first exhibition with photographer Leah DeVun.

Queer and trans people are so often treated as a screen upon which others project their fears, insecurities, and desires. And yet, queer and trans people have made a culture of teasing out, toying with, living to the side of, or entirely evading those very projections. In her new photographic series, Resemblance, Leah DeVun confronts, challenges, and plays with projection in countless ways.

From the title alone, there’s a sense that something both mischievous and pointed is at work. Focusing on her own family for the first time in her art practice, DeVun presents images primarily of her trans partner (Macauley DeVun) and their son going about their lives: at rest, at play, in frustration, embracing, on their own. Queer families are created in an infinite variety of ways, but rarely in a way where the children share equal portions of DNA from two individuals who serve as the parents or primary caregivers. And so what family resemblance means for queer families touches on yet another set of projections. DeVun gives viewers no information, nor does she need to, about how her family came to be, but by evoking resemblance she nudges against comments such as, “he looks just like you,” pushing us to ask how that phrase operates and for whom, while also acknowledging some of the complexity of parenting itself—what parent and child seek and find in one another.

The narrative viewers bring to her work has always been a key component in DeVun’s art practice. She has long been interested in the outward construction of identities and kinship; the very specific, layered signifiers at play in those constructions, and how those signifiers serve simultaneously as mirrors for her subjects, the larger society, and audiences.

In Resemblance, the images are constructed with her family’s involvement, their carefully controlled lighting and painterly composition give an impression at turns of being both staged and spontaneous. The background changes frequently enough that one can’t be sure exactly where the family is located (though most images were captured at their home or DeVun’s parents’ home), but in the majority father and son are in a domestic space, engaged in the everyday activities of life. Through one lens the series could be seen to serve as a counterpoint to the scapegoating of queer and trans people so prevalent in contemporary US society. But the series also asks us to look a bit longer, to question what it means to place queerness within the familial, to wonder what trans masculinity and queer adulthood model for a child, and what a child models back. DeVun and her family know what they’re up to, and are choosing how they reflect aspects of their lives in these works, but what you read into them carries its own weight, and it’s something DeVun is asking you to question as much as you question the work itself.

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Leah Devun


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