Maya Rubio produces art shows, workshops, and other multidisciplinary projects. She also loves teaching, b/vlogging, and writing about art. 


Artists: M’Kenzy Cannon, Kelly Chen, River Minju Kim, Paulina MacNeil, Madeline Norton

Location: Gallery 263 (Cambridge, MA)

Dates: October 13–November 12, 2022

Experience virtually.

We live in a network of sloppy memories, hidden connections, and collective mystery. Synchronicities — whether or not they mean anything. What is god and what does it want from me? Questions cycle into a desire for resolved answers and accurate solutions. We crave mastery so we mine for understanding, only to find distortion and contradictions. What’s the secret to getting what you want and feeling it all the time? How can I reach the good life? What if it’s cursed? An undercurrent of inquiry pulses beneath it all—here, five artists share their own routes, windows, and pearls of wonder.

Madeline Norton paints memories only she recognizes; characters appear blurred, whispering humid air. Textile works by River Minju Kim gather fragments of history — a childhood blanket, a bra — stitched, burrowed, hidden. M’Kenzy Cannon’s object/website installation and Kelly Chen’s early motion image toy require interactivity, your curiosity. They present quests and thump with nostalgia. Paulina MacNeil’s multimedia presentation is soft and itchy and reverberates some chimeric force. Flirt with ambiguous objects and their possibilities; slip between noise and touch and visual memoria.

This exhibition is a love letter to divine darkness, the bottom of the ocean. The secret can haunt you, so let it fascinate you. Wander through mist, the truth of not knowing. Find stillness there. Wink at destiny’s play, this grand experiment called life. Beneath the chaos: A path only you can forge. It’s all inside of you.

What’s the Secret? is a part of Gallery 263’s Exhibition Proposal Series, a program in which shows are selected by a competitive jurying process.

Public Program: A Trip to the Moon: Early Special Effects Screenings and Improvisation

Join artist Kelly Chen and curator Maya Rubio for a night of early motion picture illusions to celebrate milestones in visual and special effects from the early 20th century. In conjunction with the exhibition What's the Secret?, Gallery 263 will be screening Le Voyage Dans la Lune (1902) and Baron Munchausen's Dream (1911) by George Melies, The Great Train Robbery (1903) by Edwin S. Porter, Bob's Electrical Theater (1906) by Segundo Chomón, The Magic Sword (1901) by Walter R. Booth, Princess Nicotine (1909). In the galleries, early illusion silent motion picture films will be brought to life by musical improvisation. We will watch movies by the first filmmakers to use trick photography, multiple exposures, time-lapse photography, dissolves, and hand-painted color. Then, we will discuss these techniques as they apply to our current image economy, motion picture industry, and queer objects.