What immediately strikes the viewer about the art collective TRIIIBE is the appearance of its members: Alicia, Kelly and Sara Casilio—the subjects and architects of photographs taken by collaborator Cary Wolinsky—are identical triplets. TRIIIBE formed in 2006, and this show, their New York debut, show featured 15 photographs as well as video documentation of performances, all produced over the last five years.
The photographs, in which the group takes on other identities in the tradition of Cindy Sherman and Nikki S. Lee, vary in mood. Some are politically and socially charged. Commenting on pregnancy and reproductive rights, Black and White (2010) depicts a pregnant black woman lying in front of a row of justices. Table for Three (2010) shows the sisters dressed as a rabbi, an imam and a priest; they are seated around a table with a thick, open, unidentifiable book. Others are more lighthearted. Triplet Crime (2010) provides a comic play on identity, in a setup that recalls pulp fiction. Dressed in matching blond wigs and tight pink pants, the Casilios pose, cocking their hips, as if in a police lineup, expressing varied degrees of disinterest.
On the lower level of the gallery, two huge triptychs mimicking the form of altarpieces offered sly observations on commercial and popular culture. McIntosh presents a tree whose trunk is made of the Casilios wrapped in computer cables. The triplets hold apples in their extended hands. In Pink Lady, a Barbie-like figure in pink is flanked by a young girl at play in her bedroom and a surly teenage counterpart.
The effect of the Casilios’s identical appearance was sometimes the most memorable part of a particular piece, but the most compelling works led the viewer to consider more complex issues. For the performance Inch by Inch (2007), the group went to Washington, D.C., for a 2007 protest against the Iraq War. Dressed as a dust-covered 9/11 office worker, an Iraqi woman in a Jilbab and a soldier, they rolled out yards of red fabric to represent the dead. The video for Inch by Inch, on view here, includes behind-the-scenes preparation and viewers’ reactions, as well as the sisters performing, allowing an intimate look at their process.