My sketchbook is my studio. The page is a very particular place for me, where I translate conversations into color, for I make my drawings and paintings while listening to friends converse or while riding the train. I use pens, pencils and watercolors and I incorporate the use of architectural templates and handmade stencils. I favor circles, dots, grids and repetition which all facilitate listening and observation. Some marks are like punctuation and others might reflect the intensity of an emotion expressed during a particular conversation. I am making language visual. As time goes on I reflect on the conversations and use my sketchbooks to inspire other work; writing, curating, printmaking, daydreaming and sculptural projects.
I’m interested in the surface of where opposing themes, ideas, cultures and objects meet. What happens in this space? The intersection point between edges. Birthed in Haiti, growing up in The Bahamas and living in America resulted in my interest of identity politics, and how an understanding of structures of identity change based upon geography and culture. In my work I explore issues of race, identity, and otherness. Familiar narratives are often co-opted and gives the audience -who sometimes is also a collaborator- access of engaging and redefining together with me. My work exists as social sculpture, installation and performative processes.
I believe in reciprocal transactions, processes that involve traditions of giving and taking, demolishing and reconstructing and exploring a community’s ability to negotiate. In works such as Black No Sugar* and Dis We Tea Party**, the art exists in my ability to create not only teacups and exchange them in the end but more importantly my ability to collaboratively define through conversation and experience. I use objects and vessels as tools of mediation for sculpting an environment or a concept.
In my installation works I project my experiences of self and metaphors of past events in relation to the bodies of others. Material divides. The edge is present. I use familiar materials such as cotton and wire to paint narratives of identity and the restriction thereof.
In this oeuvre performance acts to confirm, interrogate and sometimes perpetuate through acts of absurdity such as doing a limbo under hot molten glass or trying to move sand through water to the other side of an object. My body becomes an active site of production, rebellion and affirmation.
TAI HWA GOH
I make intricately layered print installations in which images are piled upon themselves to create a kind of bodyscape, showing the layers piled upon my body by a myriad of outer phenomena, physical and psychological experiences, and traumas. The prints hold remnants of my memories and sensory experiences; they are the record of my exquisite contemplation of the body’s exchange with external events. Layer upon layer of images reflect the vast depth of memory and experience presently held in my body. At times the layers are reminiscent of geological strata, or the layers of the human body: skin, fat, muscle tissue. Some parts of my work grow organically like plants; other parts seem to consist of a skin-like substance. I work with images that are adapted from the natural world in my effort to describe the ineffable self that resides within the human body.
I treat paper as not only a surface for image-making, but as a sculptural medium as well. Sometimes my work will read as a traditional, two-dimensional print, but at other points it reveals an underlying architecture, awakening in three dimensions as an installation. By folding, cutting, flipping and overlapping, my images are transformed and grow into space, crossing the boundary of the print ground and posing questions about the accepted concept of a printed work of art.
My prints are created using traditional printmaking techniques on Soon-ji, a fine Korean paper. The process involves transforming the characteristics of the material by reacting opaque Hanji with batik. Thin sheets of beeswax are ironed onto the prints, obscuring the images underneath. The layers of delicately waxed papers obstruct and bury the images, ultimately transmitting only their echo.
My recent work attempts to delineate the boundary between the inner and outer realms of the body. I am specifically interested in revealing the body’s experience through sense perception. My aim is to expand the boundaries of perception to whole body, which I believe to be the domain of basic human experience. For me, the limitation of the corporeal is also the starting point to explore the body’s vulnerability and make an inquiry into the nature of human existence. I am exploring the opaque and ambiguous world between oblivion and memory, and the dichotomy between the resilient, yet vulnerable body and my recoverable, rather strong selfness. By transmitting my own experience using these images and spatial structure, I am experimenting with cognitive expansion and probing the shared domain of human experience, where similarity of images begins to form a symbolical linguistic system.
My work is centered on the social act of publishing. I use the tone of authority inherent in the printed word to explore the comforts and limits of community, exploring both the language we use to communicate and the stories that we tell ourselves about who we are. I enjoy the ways in which language can be used to prevent communication as easily as it can be used to foster it. I aim to create interior monologues and alternate histories, and exploit the kinds of interior lapses in time that reading creates.
Much of my recent work takes the history of science as a starting point and inspiration. I have been focused on two concurrent bodies of work. The first is a series of informational pamphlets, distributed through the postal service to a changing list of recipients. The most recent issues have looked at codes and their use in secret communication, the measurement of time, the distribution of scientific knowledge through the printed word, and the use and reuse of the minor islands of New York harbor. All of these began with research, drawing, and the accumulation of source material, combined into an easily digested, portable format that can be shared among a chosen group of people. The pamphlets are printed using the obsolete technology of letterpress and relief printmaking, reflecting in their form the history of publishing.
The second project is a field guide to extinct birds. This guide looks at the history of birds books, the rapid pace of extinction, and the reasons behind the disappearance of certain species. I am interested in documenting how we remember that which is no longer here, at a time when much of nature is rapidly disappearing. At the same time, I have lingering questions in mind about the relationship between obsolescence and extinction, and between the amateur and the expert. This project includes a limited edition book, as well as a website documenting both the individual bird species, and my production process while printing and binding the field guide itself. You can see the project at www.fieldguidetoextinctbirds.com.
My ideas are concerned with otherness, self-consciousness and displacement. Iʼve made work inspired by women in my family, labor, dislocation, psychology, myth, art history, magic realism and symbols. I interrogate the way in which historical hierarchies inform and condition current identity constructions. Iʼm specifically interested in how these constructions manifest through the (mostly female) body: how they are received, internalized and then regurgitated by it.
Living between the U.S. and the D.R. (and having lived in Belgium for a while) has made me aware of my own difference and subjectivity depending on context. Reflecting on this, my work has transitioned from identity constructions in a personal and intimate manner (meditating on gender roles in relation to domesticity, family structure and my upbringing in the Dominican Republic) to acknowledging wider landscapes, examining transnational and transcultural exchanges.
My current work focuses in the construction of the female subject in relation to nature in a “tropical” context, shaped by a foreign Gaze that demands leisure and pleasure. Like nature, femininity has been imagined and represented in multiple contexts throughout history as idealized, tamed, conquered / colonized and exoticized. Iʼm currently revising existing cultural products that engage in this form of representation and transforming them through my work.
My process is an ongoing exploration across media: a painting or sculpture might be a departing point or a key element in a subsequent video or a performance (or viceversa), and they might all be included in the final piece or developed independently. The constant in my work is the presence of the body and the interest in creating distinct power positions with it, often contradictory but operating simultaneously, creating complex forms of agency. The goal is to navigate binaries in search of in-betweenness, trying to both fulfill and sabotage expectations at once.
My graphic, post-pop, conceptual paintings feature a mash-up of images and text, in which any visuals or themes are fair game for repurposing. I often appropriate logos from hardcore punk bands or use altered text based on song titles, underground or popculture, or the inner-workings and politics of the art world. They are meticulously hand painted to resemble silkscreen prints, political advertising, or t-shirt graphics. Often focusing on obsessive personality traits while throwing in autobiographical references for good measure, my work is intentionally ambiguous. I coined the term "virtual dumpster diving" to describe the practice of taking images and videos from the web.
KEY-HOLDER ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
SEUNG JONG LEE
My work is related to life, expectations, and escape from the routine.
Living in New York city, the center of art, business, entertainment, media and culture, my life as a foreigner leads me to think about the lives of many immigrants. I am also very concerned about the relationship between North and South Korea from my new perspective outside of the country as well as anxiety about my identity here.
Because Korea is a homogenous country, the barriers of culture, language, and race are new to me. I am trying to solve these issues in my daily life, and I chose the ‘manhole’ as a metaphor for my journey in life.
The manhole is an escape route or connection to the new world of my imagination. I see the manhole cover as a gate. Thus, I create inter-dimensional portals in my lithographs, in so far as I use the image of the manhole as a symbolic gateway between cultures, nations, and identities. Manhole covers are a reflection of a town’s civic pride, as they are produced by foundries and local authorities. They are also the doors which guide me to an unknown, dark world. It is a pitch-black underground path which is neither romantic nor attractive. Therefore, I imply that hardships and storms of life are prerequisites to the new world of escape or freedom. However, there is always anticipation and hope because the manhole is not a cave. Instead, it is connected to other places like a tunnel. Also, it functions not only as a means of escape or transition, but also as a means of infiltration, as when a cadre of western comic book heroes can be seen penetrating the sexualized socio-cultural homogeneity of North Korea, represented here by endless penetrating ranks of female soldiers wearing the traditional Korean Hahoetal mask. Rubbings function as an anchor, tethering the ethereal yearnings and anxieties of my pictorial practice to the concrete experience of living in New York, and all the harsh yet beautiful particularities that go along with that. I am trying to resolve these issues in my daily life, and I choose the ‘manhole’ as a metaphor for my journey. I imagine using a manhole to bridge the gap between my different selves with different lives: Korean, American.
Based on these ideas, I reinterpret the manhole covers from an aesthetic viewpoint. Also, I raise questions about the escape from many things: a routine, daily life and, by extension, nations, ethnicities and disputes. These escapes lead to freedom and the hope of a better life.
My work combines video, installation and performance to present narratives of adventure and discovery. I gather source material by exploring natural phenomena and unusual landscapes, allowing the world around me to become a playground for storytelling. Unknown places are a starting point for my practice. An example is my 2013 video “Landship”, in which I explore the grounds of IPark, a residency in Connecticut, as an alien from another world. Built anomalies like sails installed in trees and a satellite dish “listening” device determine my course and activate a magical world, playing with the notion of public sculpture and how it can lend unexpected narrative to a place. In another video, beast/man, a desert dweller in the Mojave discovers his shape-shifting abilities after finding a singing, blue crystal. Using the crystal he engages in rituals of transformation turning the surrounding landscape into a compass that directs him to a place of mysticism and mystery. I leave room for play and spontaneity in all of my work in order to retain a spirit of true exploration. “The Boys Absurd Invention” is one part mad scientist laboratory and one part child’s fort. It is built from found wooden pallets and chemistry lab equipment and resembles a complicated apparatus with an obscure function. Combining low tech materials (clay and wood) with high tech equipment, the piece suggests a complicated device that only functions within the limits of the viewers imagination. Imagination and suspension of disbelief drives my work. In "The search for an unattainable beast..." the loss of my tooth becomes a catalyst for a journey into the unknown. That experience is documented through video, performance, photography, and sculpture in the form of pseudo-scientific tools. Using humor and absurdity to interpret the unknown, the collective works are about the struggle to find meaning, happiness, and salvation. Finally, In "Testing Site #3, #2, #1", I play with the physics of rocketry as a poetic, albeit destructive, gesture. The moment of launch being inverted and frozen in place, forever anchoring objects of exploration to the ground and gravity. I draw upon unexpected moments to enrich the narrative in my pieces, and combine careful planning, the expectation of failure, and fantastical elements that push against the realism of an experience to create a world that is as believable as it is strange.
Utilizing drawing, sculpture, & video animation under an acutely conceptual framework, a minimalist aesthetic is combined with both highly personal subject matter & fanatical seriality. An obsessive language of materials & techniques has been developed based on my late surgeon father’s methods both in medicine & in domestic life. By translating these both foreign & familiar processes into artistic practice a form of apprenticeship lives on in a commemoration. Drawing behaves as an obsessive & repetitive act employed for the exploration of memory & the reclaiming of something familiar. Thematically the work seeks empathy across all identity lines.
The sculptural works too function as drawings, but in three dimensional space, meticulously coating objects with graphite pencil as if they removed themselves from the two dimensional plane & into our bodily space providing an ever greater intimacy & physicality with the object itself.
Many of the drawings are further used to create animation works, “purposely failed animations”, or “moving stills”—never successfully animating the inanimate subject sourced from the motionless world of photography or the even more metaphorically static realm of memory.
All my methods maintain a peculiar sense of longing. The subject matter may directly address this, a formal sensibility of tension may be employed or longing can be implied by way of a self-imposed conceptual failure—often having a purposeful yet ambiguous sense of incompletion.
I am a sculptor. The art I create is made through the process of bricolage and translation. I am interested in making things that are inherently problematic in the sense that 1. I want my art to function as a kind of cultural and personal navigation., and 2. I am interested in expressing contradictory ideas and emotions through my work (the non-nonsensical and practical for example). By centering and de-centering meaning within a work of art, I hope to reflect a reality that is continually in flux through experience, memory and the evolution of language.
Since the late 1990's I have been creating gun sculptures which explore the duality of navigation and contradiction. Initially inspired by slave trade and colonial era muskets, this series has evolved to consider firearms across time and place as a marker of both individual and group identity. As ergonomic objects, guns reflect the body that holds them, physically, historically, socially and psychologically. In this sense the gun becomes figurative – a stand in. I create my guns from objects, materials...some rusty old piece, a shiny new toy broken just so. New questions built from what remains on the curb, in the basement, the corner of the studio, the back of the mind.
Concurrently I have been making collages. These are created using a similar process. I reconstruct, reassemble, and juxtapose found material and my own mark making. However, the collage drawings do not follow the same conceptual frame as my gun sculptures. Purposely open ended, my drawings incorporate doodles, grids, adverts, and illustrations I collect. Whatever interests me I use. They sometimes depict landscapes, figures, objects or can be completely non-objective. The intention of my process is to 'get lost ' in the translation and transformation which occurs between patterns, colors, textures and images. This process of transformation creates the possibility for new ideas to emerge within the drawings. Eventually this activity solidifies into an image in which opposing elements coexist and suggest a narrative.
Both bodies of my work utilize storytelling and the malleability of visual language in the formation of identity. This continues through the installation of works within a space. Formally and conceptually I am looking for a space between forms that create both dissonance and commonality. Thereby reflecting the way I experience the world around me.
My artwork is a multi-disciplinary practice that combines the process of printmaking, photography, sculpture and ceramic. It integrates the social-political discourse within the art object to analyze relationships between contemporary and historical imagery and their connection to the social, political and economical dominance of the cultures that produce them and their impact on cultural memory. I have focus the direction of my work to trace, recollect, and record my own personal experience of migration as an Afro-Cuban American. These artworks question the current politics of race, gender, and mobility. Through my artwork, I investigate the experiences of transculturation critically and poetically. These artworks bring into consciousness past histories in present day experiences. My work circumscribes issues of displacement and personal transmutation via the everyday object as a personal and time-based reference that is diachronic in orientation, contemporaneity experiences that deal with displacement and recollection questioning these histories from different subject’s perspectives and historical context. They elicit migration as a complex process, constructing history through a continuum that involves both the original of the diasporic community and the new homeland. It questions the representation of Latinos, Blacks or “Others” in mainstream America.
My work employs an inter-disciplinary approach to making art and a conceptual research oriented examination of ideas. The work balances an interest in the semiotics of commercial mass-produced imagery and a tactile craft sensory approach to making. The dynamism of in my work is vested in the transition from sculpture to installation to performance, thereby shifting fields, and exchanging modes of visual recognition. Thereby, I balances such questions as “where and what is the art in art?” and “when does it separate from daily life?” It’s an approach to art that exposes the way popular culture acts on art shifting fields, and exchanging modes of visual recognition. It is this unconventional use of one medium to form part of another strengthens my artwork and creates new spaces for meaning and interpretation.
The driving force behind my work is to create an alternate world through excavating fragmented narratives from personal and collective memories, highlighting the archaic and invisible and recreating what has been lost to natural and human causes. I have worked exhaustively with a variety of traditional medium- printmaking, ceramics and bookmaking because I believe they are the basis of our visual culture.
My printed works on paper function as proposition and contemplative manifestation of darkness and the invisible order of the universe. They are composed of geometric forms inspired by magic charts and mandalas juxtaposed with tusche renderings and acid washes that resemble nebulas or alchemy. My latest body of carved and engraved copper embossment pieces are inspired by crop circles and sacred geometry. For my ceramics work, I am creating artifacts take the form of various objects of remembrance – towers, funeral monuments and fossilized creatures that are disintegrating or infested. Through creating collections of fictitious monuments and artifacts, I am composing the history of a mystical world in a non-°©‐linear manner by suggesting its existence and decline.
Much of the work is inspired by the memories of observing colonial houses and monuments from my childhood being left in decay while strange and wild plants began to take over. Most of these structures are now demolished or unrecognizable, recreating becomes the only way I could connect to these structures again. Being from Macau, a colony of Portugal during its transition into a Chinese province then an immigrant in the United States, the anomic nature of history and cultural migration and the nostalgia for collective memories have inspired to recreate and highlight what I believe is crucial to my identity.
My recent installation The Cave at Socrates Sculpture Park is a grotto that functions as a memento mori/ abstracted alter for the realm of the dead described in an old Chinese folklore - It is believed that spirits who are ready to reincarnate go through a bridge in hell and at the end of it an old lady serve them a bowl of 'forgetfulness' soup to erase all their memories. Some spirits choose to stay on the bridge to wait for their loved ones or forever to hold on to their past lives. A small ruinous ceramic bridge is at the center of the piece and the surface of the grotto is filled with imaginary stalactites, flora and faunas from hell. Miniature ceramic cocoon-like forms that depict the dead that have merged with one another or with other imaginary creatures encircle the main totem. I am currently still working on a larger body of work that addresses our mortality and referencing death rituals and myths. Working with both the flexibility and strength of clay allows me to create pieces that are surprising to myself. Through scratching, scribbling and engraving the surface of my pieces and, I want to create works that are visually rich in details and that carry memories of many forces.
All my work revolves around stealing. In Cuba, after graduating from the Higher Institute of Art and with little access to unaffordable art materials, I stole dry paint from the crumbling city walls and the objects around me to do collages of recycled paint on paper and canvases. I wanted to survive as an artist in the same way people does in Cuba – smuggling the State resources within the black market as the way to compensate for low salaries and scarcities. I was interested in exploring the boundaries between destroying something, or commiting a crime and creating, as well as the concepts of etics and morality within my society.
Coming to live in the United States in 2010 impacted my work in many ways, but I couldn't renounce stealing. Although I now have easier access to art materials, I have had the possibility to appreciate masterpieces from mainstream museums such as MoMA or the Met, which I had only known through slides and books before. The exposure to these works led me to reconsider the genre of painting, its attributes and boundaries.
The source of materials is not the city walls anymore, but the museum walls. In the series entitled Wallscape (2013 - present), I intervene museums' permanent collection galleries to comment on the intitution's functions and my relationship with it. Museum walls and structures impersonate the its histories and ideologies. They are carriers of memories. For instance, in Wallscape (2013) at El Museo del Barrio, NY, I copied a painting from its permanent collection, which was hung in front of the wall I was assigned to work in. Part of the Museo´s Biennieal 2013, my work consisted of peeling off the paint from the wall, and making a collage with such paint ships. As part of this series, I intend to realize interventions other museums of the United States and abroad.
Another body of works consists of realizing detailed copies of masterpieces from museum collections, using rough construction materials – wall paint on drywall or sheetrock. I have already reproduced renown works by masters such as Vermeer, Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Courbet. The sheetrock is mounted on a wooden structure and the works are always exhibited detached from the wall. Next to the painting, I include a QR code which allows the viewer to access the webpage featuring the original work. Thus, my low-tech works are like a ghost that finds its way back to the body through cutting edge technology.
PILOT COMMUNITY BASED ARTIST IN RESIDENCE
Ms. Smolarz’ s work utilizes the multidisciplinary forms of photography, video, sculpture, performance and drawing to explore the social structures which constitute human interaction within a culture. In order to expose collective consciousness and patterns of behavior, she often ask strangers to become participants and collaborators in her projects. The immediacy of her working method, wherein participants are invited to act freely and with little or no direction before the camera, fosters an improvisational approach that reveals hidden aspects of these structures and allows individual voices to be heard. The resulting bodies of works often consist of series of case studies which focus on questions of the strategies of our self-definition that are often rooted in our economic, social and cultural surroundings. Ms. Smolarz’s work aims to expose the ways in which the human psyche is shaped by one’s cultural, political, and economical surroundings.
For my most recent works, I use strategies of pattern and decoration to depict the eternal struggle between nature and technology. Central to this idea are the Toile Landscapes, including a large-scale installation of sugar and porcelain sculptures, chine colle and woodblock prints, and the small porcelain Toile Floating Landscape sculptures. I have been using both sugar and ceramics to create pieces with the same delicate look and a conceptually similar idea of preciousness, fragility, and intense process. Inspired by the recurring patterns and story-telling qualities of complex pastoral scenes found on Toile de Jouy, these works depict clusters of real and invented flora interspersed with industrial structures such as transmission towers, satellite dishes, or cell phone towers disguised as trees. Delicate and foreboding, each small pastoral scene compresses nature and technology in a bittersweet attempt at reconciliation.
I am interested in playfully contemplating my experiences living in the suburban American Midwest where a culture of over-indulgence and "mob mentality" gives way to sprawling freeways, hyper-manicured subdivisions, and strip mall wastelands. I am deeply invested in printmaking processes, and etching in particular, because of its handmade and mutable qualities, and because it is steeped in process, history, and craftsmanship.
Kirsten Flaherty resides in New York while working as an artist and printmaker. Much of Flaherty's work is created in reaction to modern societal constraints and the effects our civilization has on various ecological communities. Flaherty’s most recent series of mezzotints focus on pit bulls, in the hopes to encourage a more positive view of a nationally misunderstood animal.
“Recent Work” also includes a series of etchings that focus on the imprint that economic development has left on the ecosphere as well as the critically endangered animals that are impacted. Through her prints, Flaherty hopes to further expose the fragility of life and the fallacies in human nature that come to haunt us.
Kirsten Flaherty’s works have been exhibited throughout the United States as well as internationally including the Czech Republic, Peru, Israel, and Italy. Additionally, she is a member on the Board of Directors of the New York Society of Etchers and has been dedicated to presenting exhibitions that showcase varying visions through techniques in etching, monotype, silkscreen and other printmaking processes, with the overall intention of celebrating the venerable art of print.
Jairo Alfonso (born in 1974 in Havana) graduated from the Instituto Superior de Arte (ISA) in Havana. He has worked with different media such as painting, installation, sculpture, but his latest work has been focused on drawing and video. His work is an exploration on the contemporary "material culture" seen from an archeological perspective. He is known for his “horror vacuis” drawings of object ́s accumulations and his stop-motion animation videos.
Through my artistic practice, I question ideas of perception and explore variables, which contribute to identity formation. My prints are figurative in order to examine human interactions, both interpersonal and with abstractions (i.e. notions of home, vulnerability, fear, contest). I am drawn to print installation for its ability to affect space beyond itself, to disorient the viewer, as well as provide the freedom to explore ideas outside of ones’ self. The materials utilized are paramount to conveying my intentions to the viewer and for their understanding of a given piece.
Beth Sutherland is exploring the neighborhoods around Guttenberg to complete a suite of 10 etchings based on the theme of doorways. In her series she reveals small but significant variations of doors, which reveal individual choices of the owners within.
Phoebe Deutsch is a ceramic artist and fine art educator teaching throughout Northern New Jersey and the New York Tristate Area. She received her bachelors degree in Fine Arts from the Rochester Institute of Technology, School for American Craft, specializing in ceramics. Her imagery and inspiration is drawn from organic forms found in both biology and nature. Her sculptures have textural elements reminiscent of marine life, zoomorphic forms, and landscape. Phoebe has exhibited in New York, New Jersey, and California. Including the Dyer Arts Center, and Bevier Gallery as well as the Isabelle Percy West Gallery in Oakland California. Most recently she has accepted the position of Ceramic studio director of Bulls Ferry Pottery. She lives and works in New Jersey.
Christina Pumo is a New York City based artist working in photography and printmaking and is a member of the Robert Blackburn Printmaking Workshop. Through printmaking and photography, Pumo explores the vulnerable and fragmented nature of the human experience, resulting in impassioned portraits, creating an overlap of realism and imagination. Her work has been exhibited nationally, included in group exhibitions at the Guild Hall Museum in Long Island New York, EMOA Space Gallery in NYC, M.G.C. in NYC, Blackburn 20 | 20 in NYC and others. Christina has had an apprenticeship with artist and master printmaker Dan Welden since 2010 and currently works as one of the studio technicians for artist Nicola López. As a skilled, hands-on technician, Christina has participated in projects that have been shown in locations such as Pace Prints Gallery, the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Guild Hall Museum and the S.C.A.D. Museum of Art.