Posts in Issue XIV
Loreal Prystaj
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Loreal Prystaj is a visual artist from New York now based in London. Presently she is attending the Royal College of Art, to obtain her MA in photography, and previously received her BFA in photography at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) in New York City. Surrounded by a thriving “fashion environment” she planned on becoming a commercial photographer but chose to take a Fine Art direction where she felt she could express her ideas more freely.

She has had three solo exhibitions and participated in over thirty group exhibitions, including Arles Photo Festival (2018), MIA in Milan (2016) and selected to show with LifeFramer's travelling exhibition (2017).  Her work has been seen in galleries throughout the United States, Europe, Japan, and China, and she presently has pieces included in the permanent art collection at the Erie Art Museum, Pennsylvania, since 2014.  Prystaj’s archive of work has led to guest lecturing at accredited universities, such as NYU, FIT and Columbia, in New York. She has been awarded jury prizes from more than ten photography competitions internationally, including Ashurst Art Prize (2018), ArtSlant (2017), Neutral Density (2016), and TIFA (2018), alongside with being published widely, from The Guardian (2018), The British Journal of Photography (2018), My Modern Met (2017) to multiple articles in L'oeil de la Photographie (2017, 2016, 2015).

Statement

Her work often exposes the relationship between a specific time and space, with a juxtaposition of the human form and its environment. She expresses ideas through her photography and uses the medium consistently - in installation and interactive pieces - as well as using herself as a character or form in her images, performance and video work.

Maggie Evans
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Maggie Evans is an artist based in Savannah, Georgia.  She uses painting, drawing, and site-specific installation to examine human collective behavior and the power structures, homogeneity, and social divisions that result.

Maggie’s work has been included in over fifty national and international juried exhibitions and a number of art publications, including New American Paintings and Manifest Gallery’s INPA 6.  Artist residencies include The Hambidge Center for the Arts, The Vermont Studio Center (full fellowship) and the China Academy of Art in Hangzhou, China.  She has had fourteen solo exhibitions and has been invited to lecture on her work at a number of institutions including Indiana-Purdue University and the University of Texas, Dallas. 

Maggie holds an MFA in Painting from the Savannah College of Art and Design (2008) where she has been a part-time Professor of Foundation Studies since 2009.  In addition to her work as an artist, she performs regularly as a professional jazz singer and bassist.

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Jamie Bates Slone
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Jamie Bates Slone is a sculptor living and working in Norman, Oklahoma where she is Assistant Professor of Ceramics at the University of Oklahoma. Jamie received her MFA from the University of Kansas and her BFA from the University of Central Missouri. Her work addresses the fragility of the human spirit in relation to her personal history with physical and mental illness.

Statement

Through conjured memory, I revisit my personal history with physical and mental illness. My current work is a reflection of those memories with an emphasis on the relationship between human biology and human emotion. By using the figure as metaphor, I am able to reflect the sentiments often correlated with feelings of depression, anxiety, fear, and loss.

In my studio practice, anxieties about my own physical and mental health and obsessions with mortality manifest themselves in the choice of scale, charged surfaces, and uneasy body language within the figures. My surface choices are derived from diagnostic imaging of the human body focusing on their color and visual texture. My intent is for one to imagine the surface of the skin as a reflection of what is happening inside the body and mind. These are ideas that are continuously shifting and evolving as I think about how I want these objects to be perceived

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Jessica Tenbusch
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Jessica Tenbusch is inspired by the animal and plant species that live near humans. She explores the relationships between species and how they shaped her experience as a human animal. Her work is an observation on our role as ecosystem builders and destroyers. These works are fragments of our daily environment, showing just how close nature is in our everyday lives, embedded in our homes and neighborhoods. In her childhood, she shared her home with a multitude of other animals and hundreds of houseplants. Outside was always inside.

She loves to work in the spaces between two-dimensional and three-dimensional representation and uses color pencil, ink, acrylic paint, wood, metal, and found natural and man-made materials to create sculpture and works on paper.

Jessica received her BFA in 2011 and MFA in 2014 from Eastern Michigan University where she concentrated in metalsmithing and drawing. In addition to exhibiting her work nationally, she is active in the local arts community curating shows and coordinating events. She lives and works in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Her practice is located within Ypsi Alloy Studios, a 3D arts studio she co-owns and runs with two other local artists.

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Denise Stewart-Sanabria
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Denise Stewart-Sanabria was born in Massachusetts and received her BFA in Painting from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst. She has lived in Knoxville, TN since 1986.

 Sanabria paints both hyper-realist “portraits” of everything from produce to subversive jelly donuts. The anthropomorphic narratives often are reflections on human behavior. She is also known for her life-size charcoal portrait drawings on plywood, which are cut out, mounted on wood bases, and staged in conceptual installations.

 Her work is included in various museums, private, and corporate collections including: The Tennessee State Museum, The Evansville Museum of Art in Indiana, The Knoxville Museum of Art, Huntsville Museum of Art, Firstbank TN, Pinnacle Banks, Omni and Opryland Hotels, Scripps Networks, Knoxville Botanical Gardens, Jewelry Television, TriStar Energy, and the corporate offices of McGhee Tyson Airport

Artist Statement: Anthropomorphic Food Painting

Our relationship with what we eat is probably one of the most intimate relationships we have during our lifetime. It also, to a certain extent, can be a reflection of each individual human experience. Is what we want to eat risky? Is it adventurous or bland, or perhaps frightening? Is it healthy, or mired in toxic relationships? As a culture, what does our food say about us? If food itself was to enact human behavior, what would it do?

I use contemporary hyper-realism loosely informed by early European vanity painting clichés to explore these ideas. For instance, I’m not sure if 17th-century Spanish Baroque painter Juan Sánchez Cotán hung fruits and vegetables by strings to imitate how wild game was hung up in Dutch paintings of the time, or as a comment on the Inquisition. I like to think it is about the latter when I employ it.

Whether my paintings are an outright statement of some anthropological observation or a narrative of human foibles, I try to insert just enough humor and lusciousness to make them as palatable as possible. If I documented them literally, I would probably have constant censorship issues.

Over the years, I have had pears enact my Inquisition scenes, impaled maraschino cherries on nails, and had donuts enact the seven deadly sins and various fertility rites. My recent work involves allegorical narratives, driven by historical wallpaper appearing behind iconic contemporary baked goods and candy. A classic, regal French design is paired with a partially devoured Black Forest cake and decomposing flowers and then appears again behind a king cake, which is disgorging its Mardi Gras beads. A classic French pastoral toile print in a decidedly non-traditional color looms above a stack of artificially colored MoonPies and junk food. A classic Asian toile that I populated with Godzilla and his fellow movie monsters sits behind a vast array of candy that appears to have also been subjected to radioactive mutation.

I often combine artificially colored food with actual beauty products, such as fingernail polish in #130 Classic Coral Cream Glitter. I’ve actually embedded glitter in a painting to produce a more emboldened form of colored sugar in King Cake Glitter. I am presently continuing the series where I juxtapose a toile pattern I either design myself from scratch or discover, with ironic culinary foregrounds.

Stilllifes, or Vanitas, were originally domestic images containing items symbolic of life and death. Mine are about the human experience.

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Erin Fitzpatrick
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I am constantly inspired by patterns and prints, my travels, summertime, Instagram, interior spaces, my immediate surroundings, fashion magazines, textile design and meeting new people. I have an iPhone full of screenshots, and sketchbooks, notebooks and a studio wall covered in notes and clippings — my collections of visual stimulants. A seed from these images, a West African textile, a languid Miu Miu model, a Slim Aarons photo of poolside decadence, inspires the vibe for each painting. I plan each piece around this initial idea by creating a storyboard depicting wardrobe, model type/look, textiles, and setting. I source my models from my peers and social media, import textiles, shop for wardrobe, and build a set. I style my models and chat with them as I take hundreds of reference photos. The model becomes the focal point in my world of clashing patterns, textiles, and plants.

I’m a Baltimore native and graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art.  I started painting portraits in 2008 and this body of work now contains hundreds of paintings and drawings of artists, musicians, business people, my peers, and commissioned subjects. I have collectors all across the US and around the world.

www.erinfitzpatrickportraits.tumblr.com

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Emma Hill
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My abstract paintings are spontaneous and intuitive, expressive and emotionally charged. Each picture begins with a single brush stroke, starting a conversation. A streak of turquoise leaps above a squiggle of parchment and lilac beside a glimpse of fluorescent pink. Prussian blue drips like pouring rain and brilliant white miniature dots light up the sky like stars. Gradually layers of colour build phrases of optimism. Inspired by nature, brush strokes grow, constantly explore, entwine, and then separate and die.

Working on a large format enables a sense of freedom, to get lost within the picture. The painting process follows a journey into the unknown. In taking risks and trusting my intuition, I embrace uncertainty and vulnerability, allowing the accidental to become the structural core. Markings are made, painted over, wiped off, and layered over.

Influenced by the sky and the sea, a painting is given meaning and becomes complete by engaging the imagination of the viewer, who recognises something for themselves. In that moment, a glimpse of the figurative or a hint of a memory begins to form, shapeshifting and disappearing deep into the clouds or ocean.

My artwork aims to create paintings to dream into where we can be happy just to be. Constructing an intuitive world to get lost into, somewhere beyond our vision, past the horizon, between the sky and the sea. A place to return and revisit, to explore and rediscover and while immersed, losing and finding yourself for a moment in time.

www.emmahill.co.uk

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Natalie Ciccoricco
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Natalie Ciccoricco is a Dutch collage artist, living in California. After moving to the United States in 2012, Natalie started making mixed media collages and illustrations inspired by her new surroundings. Her work is characterized by her use of embroidery thread in combination with other materials, such as old photographs, magazines, books, and other ephemera.

Statement

In my work I weave together new narratives on paper, using embroidery thread and found images. By re-using old materials, it is my hope to give them a new life and meaning. I am inspired by the American landscape, my dreams, nature, arts, literature, and my travels.

My latest series ‘Down the Color Hole’ is an exploration into color and the concept of multiple dimensions. I use embroidery thread on images of old books and magazines to create the visual illusion of a new vantage point - a glitch in space and time from which the image seems to explode or implode, depending on how you look at it.

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Ivana Carman
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Ivana Carman (b.1991) is an emerging artist living and working in Philadelphia. Six years ago, she was a psychology major on track toward becoming a psychologist. After taking a few life-painting classes, she realized she couldn’t do anything else, and took a big leap of faith in transferring to The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Little did she know how relevant that field of interest would be to the work she makes today.  

Statement

I find inspiration in the obscured, hidden in cabinets, drawers, and old notes, in the parts of my mind that unfold in solitude. As an observational painter, I’m simultaneously looking out at the world while registering my internal responses and desires, observing the overlooked outside of myself and within.

In my recent body of work, I deepen that exploration of interior vs exterior, expressing acute perceptions of my personal world and the psychological attachments underlying ordinary objects/spaces. I often use windows and mirrors as a symbol for a bridge between two worlds, revealing the ambiguities of the domestic space. Painting deeply personal objects and spaces from life requires a detached eye, making the final work evoke both intense vulnerability and emotional distance.

Carl Jung and his concepts of the unconscious mind – the idea that there is a well of fears, desires, and trauma just beyond the surface – inform my explorations. My recent work draws familiar materials from childhood (cut paper, pastel and crayons), which allows me to respond to my own unconscious desires with naïve spontaneity. After years of restricting myself to paint on canvas, I feel a greater openness to experimentation as my practice expands beyond the weight of historical painting traditions.

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Daina Higgins
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Daina Higgins was born and raised in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus, Ohio.  Her early art experiences were at the Columbus College of Art and Design, where she attended Saturday morning classes for seven consecutive years.  During this time she attended Fort Hayes, an arts alternative high school located in downtown Columbus.  In 1997 she received the Silas H. Rhodes Merit Scholarship from the School of Visual Arts in New York.  She moved to New York, and graduated in 2001 with her BFA.
 
Out of a small studio in her Brooklyn apartment, she began making small paintings using a spray paint and stencil technique she dreamt up while looking at Georges Seurat’s drawings.  In 2003, the Rebecca Ibel Gallery exhibited these paintings.  In 2005, Higgins also joined the Elizabeth Harris Gallery, receiving critical acclaim for her 2006 solo exhibition in the New York Times.
 
In 2007, Higgins enrolled as an MFA student at Queens College CUNY.  During the two years of graduate school, she was included in the Queens International 4, a biennial exhibition at the Queens Museum of Art in Flushing, and in 2009 she won the prestigious Joan Mitchell Foundation MFA Grant.  Higgins also traveled to California to open a two-person show with Liat Yossifor at the University of LaVerne’s Harris Art Gallery.
 
Numerous publications have documented her paintings, including ArtNews, The New York Sun, The Village Voice, The Columbus Dispatch, and The New York Times.  In 2006 Roberta Smith reviewed my exhibition at Elizabeth Harris Gallery, ending her review with “[she]…creates a poetic awareness of the passage of light, moving through the world, bouncing off things and making visual experience fleetingly possible.”
 
In 2010 Higgins moved to Philadelphia, where she bought a house and studio that she has been renovating.  In November of 2017, she installed "Main Street", a series of three-dimensional paintings, inside storefront gallery Studio Hada in the Mantua neighborhood of Philadelphia. In 2017, Higgins also installed four paintings on permanent view in the Pennsylvania Convention Center (outside of Hall E).


Statement

I developed a traditional studio painting practice out of an adolescence spent as a street and graffiti artist. Because I often worked at night and photographed mine and others’ graffiti, urban night paintings based on photography are central to my work. I am interested in the fleeting nature of mood, tone, and luminosity of the urban environment and how those qualities can be encapsulated in an artifact. I also prefer to work with my hands. Therefore photography is a process that leads to my finished object, which is a painting. I rely on the marketability of paintings to be able to continue my life as an artist.

As a contemporary urban landscape painter my subject has centered around the non-place of the post-modern built environment that is comprised of vast roadside, auto-based businesses, storefronts, parking lots, highway overpasses, and other sites designed to ferry people through space to some far-flung destination. The non-place has been counter-balanced by my concurrent interest in the hyper-local, usually represented as cultural expressions of immigrant business districts in dense east coast American cities. This dichotomy is strongly represented in the inner-ring suburbs where I could afford to live as a New Yorker, and between 2006-2010 I created a body of paintings that depicted colorful storefronts alongside highway underpasses and wide roads planned by Robert Moses. A sense of ‘historicity’ was markedly absent from these paintings and so when I moved to Philadelphia in 2011 I was confronted by history in a poignant way.

I bought an old house on a busy road and watched as the recent development boom consumed multiple historic structures within the community. Curious about my own house, I researched the city archives and learned about its builder, Charles Oscar Struse, and his place in the history of the community. This historical knowledge allowed me to see my street in a new way. As an artist that is now rooted here, I seek to convey what is particular about this place, and I wish to portray the particular weirdness that Philadelphia is known for. I have decided my subject will be my own street, Ridge Avenue, a road that began as a Lenni Lenape footpath. Ridge Avenue has been through many eras of development and yet it never had a Robert Moses, so the layers of time are visible in a smaller format. The largest development era was that of the automobile, and its presence is exacerbated by the geography of the area: a dense suburb atop a steep ridge. Northwest Philadelphia was built in row houses like the rest of the city, and when the automobile came, it changed in remarkable ways. The layers include a drive-thru window on the side of a 200-year-old stone house, a pizzeria crammed inside of a mansard-roofed twin, a chrome diner situated within a cemetery, a bodega next door to a hulking stone church.

I worked with community leaders and in 2018 we were able to halt the development and historically register many of the structures, thereby preserving the layers and details of time past. I plan to continue finding the layers of history and painting what is particular about this place.

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Claire Sweitzer Hawkins
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My art practice is how I chase after the sense of calm I find while being in nature. Living in a city, I do not get as many opportunities to wander the woods or aimlessly float on a lake as I did growing up. The way I get lost in creating art is the closest to that joyful feeling as I can manufacture. I make art to find my center, flush out the toxins of the day, and to learn to be in the present moment rather than off worrying about what is yet to come.

www.sweitzerstudios.com

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Ciele Beau
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Ciele Beau is a visual artist based out of Vancouver, Canada. She studied at the University of Victoria (Victoria, Canada), graduating in 2013 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and a Visual Arts major. Aside from painting, Ciele also works as an illustrator and graphic designer. She received her 2D Design Certificate from Emily Carr University of Art and Design in 2017.

It was during her time at the University of Victoria that Ciele became aware that she had a condition called Synesthesia and began exploring this within her art practice. She began creating methods of translating her experience through painting to give the audience a window into what individuals with Synesthesia might experience.

Statement

“What is Synesthesia? In simple terms, it is the crossing of one sensory pathway in the brain to another, creating abnormal sensory experiences in the body. There are multiple forms of Synesthesia, and therefore varying measures of experience. To keep things focused, within my art, I am only referencing ‘sound to colour’ Synesthesia, as I experience it. When I hear music, I experience colour. In one way it is the feeling of colour throughout my body; I liken it to the way we feel emotion and know in our bodies when we are sad or happy on a physical level. I hear a sound and feel in my body that it is orange, or blue etc. At the same time as feeling colour I also “see” shapes in my minds eye when hearing sound. Because these two experiences can be expressed as isolated events, but also simultaneous, I created two methods of painting that help me to convey the spectrum of my experience: Chromatic Forms and Colour Frequencies.

My ‘Chromatic Forms’ paintings represent moments of a piece of music and the colours and shapes as I see them, simultaneously, whereas the ‘Colour Frequency’ paintings are my way of interpreting a full score of music, from beginning to end, into colour.

As I continue to explore my condition further, I hope to broaden the confines of perceived “normal” experience. Perception is broad, and we all have our own unique lenses. While I am focused on Synesthesia, I see it as a means to an end, a small piece of the overall puzzle of how we can open our hearts and minds to each other - to understand that not everything is as we think it is, and our experience is not necessarily the same as someone else. You and I can listen to the same song and have vastly different experiences, but how beautiful would it be to open up the conversation to those variances in perception, not only in regards to something as simple as music, but to life experience and cultural differences.”

Most recently, Ciele explored the concept of celebrity and unexpected deaths with her solo show ‘An Early Funeral’. She created 14 original works for the show, in her two styles, where people could listen to a curated playlist of songs while looking at the corresponding paintings, and read about each musician who had passed away, the circumstance and their legacies.

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Rachel Grobstein
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Rachel Grobstein’s miniature sculptures engage with the tradition of still life, cataloguing a daily world and connecting personal history and consumer culture. Her long interest in how people’s collections of objects create snapshot biographies led her to become fascinated with the wide array of objects kept on bedside tables, where tissues and the day’s receipts are collected alongside souvenirs, prescription bottles, cherished mementos, and personal items. After asking her friends and acquaintances for pictures of their nightstands, Grobstein recreated their possessions as miniature tableaus. These bedside collections speak to universal themes, from memory and self care to sexual identity and dream life.

 Grobstein lives and works in Brooklyn. Recent solo shows include pills and moons and things at Next to Nothing Gallery, New York, NY (2018), Infra-ordinary at Andrew Rafacz Gallery, Chicago, IL (2018), and these dreams go on when I close my eyes at the Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM (2017). She is the recipient of residencies and awards including a daily artist residency at the Museum of Arts and Design (2019), a fellowship at the Roswell Artist-in-Residence Program (2017 - 2018), a residency at Jentel Foundation (2018), and a Vermont Studio Center full fellowship and residency supported by the Joan Mitchell Foundation (2012). She received her MFA in Painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2013 and her BA in Philosophy and Visual Arts from Bowdoin College in 2006. For more information, please visit rachelgrobstein.com.

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Christina Klein
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Growing up on a farm in rural Kansas, I have always been an eager explorer. On the farm, there was always something new to discover and endless materials to build with. My upbringing in this world of possibility developed my creative mind.

www.christinaklein.com

Statement

There is something alluring about an abandoned house in the countryside, the weathered structure still proudly standing as a testament of a life gone. As I near the home and walk among the rubble, I am intrigued by the artifacts left behind. Clothes, shoes and other relics are proof that a life once existed among the decay. There is beauty in the way these houses fall apart. Sunlight shines through the rafters, peers through cracks in the windows, casting light on the floor much like the reflections through cathedral windows. The ideas gathered from my pilgrimages to these homes inspires the work I create. The need to recycle and use found objects is an important part of my work. I am most confident making canvases from old tablecloths and frames from salvaged wood. Supplies that have a history of their own can be utilized in the creation process. Artifacts from collapsed barns show tangible evidence of evolving rural landscapes. I have collected and milled wood from trees that were bulldozed for development, striving to use recycled materials before buying new. I weave these materials into my projects, much like the brushstrokes that make up the imagery itself.

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Chloe Wilson
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Born and raised in California, Chloe Wilson earned her BFA from the University of California at Davis in 2010. Since then she has gone on exhibit her work nationally and internationally, most recently in a solo show at the Monterey Museum of Art.

Her current body of acrylic paintings juxtaposes urban and architectural details against moody evening skies.

Statement

This body of work is inspired by the particular quality of light that the sky possesses during the transition from day to night. I find these brief, daily moments interesting because of how they precipitate both perception and introspection. This peculiar, hybrid experience has sustained my practice for the past two years. I collect reference photos from my daily commute and then transcribe these moments into paint. Any degree of realism that is attained is the accidental byproduct of an attempted divorce from self-expression.

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