Studios > 2010 Residents
James is a feature length screenplay
that I wrote, based on James Armistead Lafayette’s true story as an
During the Residency, I will install
a working film set in the studio. The life-sized tableaus, handmade, drawn
and constructed by the artist, render an immersive abstraction of an
espionage landscape. The sets are flexible, extensible and collapsible,
allowing the artist to scale and customize the shoots to suit the particularities
of a given gallery and neighborhood context.
Shoots will occur as scheduled Open-Source Casting® events. Using the screenplay Citizen
James, actors, passersby and
invited guests will reenact James's role ending the American Revolution
by reading for the part of James, Cornwallis, The Marquis Lafayette
or George Washington, based on the schedule. The sets allow anyone
to “walk on” and be directed by the artist into preset cast positions
and costumes, while reading lines from teleprompters just off camera.
During the residency there will be a rotation of 5-6 scenes shot in
repetition. This allows for the possibility of editing together
hundreds of different people’s performances into a single director’s
cut of James’s idiosyncratic historic role.
In the end, experimental, hybrid footage, will emerge.
“What Persists” – a proposal dealing with memory and loss, place and site … the difference between the thing and itself.
Memory itself is an act of re-imagining. Through this process a concrete experience of place becomes mutable, shifting, insubstantial, a ghost of itself. The re-presenting of this experience is at once analogous to this process of memory, losing and reconfiguring information, and a means of projecting the insubstantial into an other where it will again be re-member, re-imagined, a thing unto itself, existing wholly within the interior. To be sent out from this interior again calls for a translation, and yet another generation of re- imagining … this is the nature of loss and transformation.
Practicals: I will document my experience of the residency via video. I will use the video as a source for a body of work. The parts of this body, when viewed in proximity to one another, will demonstrate what of the experience, if anything, transcends translation;
what is lost; and what persists. In this process loss is manifested in transliteration via media: the same source information re-inscribed via a variety of media including text, video, digital print and painting. The resulting body of work is a map formed by the overlay of the literary, the material and the cognitive.
The body of work will include:
The subject of my work is the “ultrathin” moment between conception and creation. It is the moment of emergence. My work depicts that moment … a moment which cannot be written or spoken. In addition to painting, my work encompasses a variety of approaches with digital video and digital print being the most common. I also work through drawing, traditional silk- screen, collage, installation, etc. In all of my work the process involves gathering and capturing; editing and layering. I often seek to strain the limits of the medium’s ability to depict/transmit meaning. How far can I push and extend digital, for instance, before it breaks apart and the image gets lost. What happens in-between these bits of information? How are the gaps filled in?
For me, painting is full of risk, spontaneity,
potential. I choose painting to describe the anxieties of our
time. As in life, I manage uncertainty through a conscious tracking
of time with fluid paint. Like a conversation, alternating line
and wash test out form and ideas, all the while doing so with abandon;
a blind movement forward. I map references to the body and time, forging
temporal structures. As I work, the all-encompassing motion of laying
down line deviates, sprouting off to create appendages and more fragmented
forms. Jaunty, disjointed, fractured entities twist in space and appear
on the verge of collapse. I am acutely aware of touch and the reconstruction
of spatial memory. A kinetic energy can take over. Often, I interrupt
improvisation with more conscious maneuvers. I shift to distant, material
concerns as I outline, obliterate the excess, and sometimes create a
skim coat through which the painting’s history can be viewed. The
best paintings I make are the ones I can’t explain.
In the same way I pollute my abstract
paintings with figurative and spatial references, I plan to complicate
my working methods through engagement with the other artists and visitors
in Newark. Like many artists, I am a very private artist. However, I
am at a point in my work in which I sense a great need to get out of
my comfort zone, and be challenged by my peers, my audience, and whomever
visits my studio. Rather than beginning my works with a connection to
the materials or myself, I would like start from the outside, collecting
a series of responses from other residents that describe what their
thoughts are on the “zeitgeist” of our time. This project could
extend to other groups, such as local schools, or collections of statements
from blogs, or from newspapers.
Hiroshi Kumagai was born in Tokyo, Japan and now lives and works in Jersey City, New Jersey. His works involve the creation of conceptually based sociopolitical illustrations. In 2006 he began utilizing vinyl and images of quintessential American family and popular culture items to address issues of gender roles, the fragility of family dynamics, and the underlying threads of violence and danger that underpin American society.
"As a part of ongoing theme, I started collecting images of individuals who are engaging in online video chat, such as AIM and Skype. I was first fascinated by the intimate quality of the images and then captivated by the exhibitionist and voyeuristic quality of this method of communication. I intended not to make a judgment on digital communication or users of the medium, but to observe and abstract images as a transcription of what's lost in translation."
"I am researching new technologies and methods for projecting computer animations, using custom -built projectors, mirrors and other tools. The overall goal for the projection is for it to both be interactive in some way and for it to speak to the aesthetics of printmaking styles of public protest 1930-1945.
I have completed several projects documenting the complex relationships between insular or private communities, and the larger public communities that surround them. This is a theme that was started with my work and residencies at Taliesin, where I documented the relationship between the exclusive intellectual enclave of Frank Lloyd Wrightʼs Fellowship located at Taliesin and the surrounding farming community of Spring Green, Wisconsin.
The images and installations I create are heavily inﬂuenced by my experiences not just as an artist, but as a member of a community that is deﬁned by the physical assertions and limitations of a very specific environment."
By performing and enacting a series of repetitive transformative actions – whether it is painstakingly braiding and knotting length of tubing, or tearing and gnawing through slabs of foam – through the physicality of my actions, I bestow upon the material an ability to further decay, multiply or spread beyond its original confines. The systems that emerge in my installations contain references to disciplines ranging from topography, biology and the decorative arts.
I intend to transform the studio into an imaginary geological landscape and living ‘map’, where materials slowly accumulate forming
compressed layers - yet also erode - over the duration of the residency. The residency will allow me to utilize the studio as a site for the creation of an on-going, dynamic installation that functions as a record of both my time and process during this set time period.
Only materials ‘local’ to the area will be utilized – these will slowly sediment and accumulate, forming a sculptural and material map of my practice, as well a record of scavenged and discarded materials that can be found in and around the neighborhood that Gallery Aferro is located. Rather than using the studio as a trash receptacle however, the space will be ever shifting, referencing actual geological systems (albeit one where the timeframe has been condensed).
And like all geological systems, with accumulation of layers, comes the necessary erosion and removal of sediment. This can be through an act such as trading materials with other artists, or exchange with the local community. In order to keep the system a closed one, all proceeds from the sale or trade of materials will be returned to the installation in the studio. I hope to create a fantastical world that intermittently utilizes scientific principles, yet is also a very personal material diary of the residency, the neighborhood, and of my own process. This residency will allow me to work towards my most ambitious and large scale installation yet, hopefully incorporating elements of performance and public interaction, pushing my practice in more critically challenging
I would like to continue a body of work that focuses on domestic objects and textiles. I will use a variety of materials, found on site, in the surrounding neighborhoods, or swept up during the cleaning of the studio. I would like to make large wallpaper inspired work directly on the wall, using masking tape, dirt/detritus, thread, nails, and found materials, and then create groupings of sculptures/objects on pedestals, in display cabinets or vitrines, with drawings and ephemera in filing cabinets and card catalogs.
I have worked with dirt on the wall, without other materials or elements. I have also worked primarily with furniture, frames, textiles, and other objects.
I would like to try to bring these two methods of working together, to experiment with the ways that wallpaper and domestic objects and imagery could interact with a more sterile and blank space. The Aferro studio would be perfect for this project because it would detach the work from domestic connotations of space- the space instead would be in the scale of museum or gallery installations. I would like to set up a sort of museum space dedicated to these fragile and awkward remakings of patterns and objects, using not only furniture and objects but also pedestals, wall labels and pins and mounting devices, and other objects associated with museums and gallery spaces.
My installations quietly invade the environment, altering it significant yet subtle ways. I use simple materials such as masking tape, thumbtacks, dirt, and thread. The compositions develop in response to the physical and emotional characteristics of the site and the objects in it. I highlight the overlooked spaces, paying attention to corners, edges, and the point where one material meets another. Whether I am using dirt and detritus to create patterns on the wall, or using paint and thread to articulate line and shadow, the work appears to grow out of the space, and melt back into it.
I am interested in the crossover between domestic space and gallery space, and how one can make these spaces overlap, or converse. At a residency in a row of soon-to-be-demolished apartments, I was inspired by the layers of history found in the space, from the large decorative choices like wallpaper and carpet to the mundane or accidental things like nail holes in the wall, water damage, and peeling ceilings. Each space held the results of many people leaving their mark, intentionally or not. In these rooms, I pulled back some layers, and added my own. I created new wallpaper using dirt and cut paper, I delineated volumes of space with stretched thread or wooden slats, and add ghostlike decorative elements such as crown molding made of masking tape, a stained glass window made of cellophane and duct tape, and a row of potted plants made from broken crockery and found objects. My installations and objects repurpose the things that we sweep up, throw away, and overlook. In them, I interact with everyone who has built the room, remodeled it, cleaned it, or lived in it, and hold all of these past actions in a fragile balance with my own.
I make drawings and paintings that are based on my daily experience in urban spaces – my walk to work, the skyline seen from my apartment, the errands run throughout the week. I keep a camera on me all the time, and throughout the day, I document where I
am. Each photograph is quite ordinary, but holds significance for the part it plays in the mapping of my life. Details that might be overlooked, such as the curve of a lampost or the molding on a windowsill, are captured so that later on they can be incorporated into
minutely detailed compositions. In a way, drawing is like retracing my steps. However, rather than trying to piece together a coherent, objective narrative, I work with layers of imagery. Buildings are overlaid atop one another and allowed to tangle together.
Over time the layers obliterate parts of what is underneath, and the composition is woven out of hundreds of these daily recordings. I overload certain sections, and then counterbalance those areas with finely articulated, delicate structures - fire escapes, streetlights, the exposed pipes running through alleys. I am attempting to describe the experience of living in places that are constantly being transformed by construction and demolition.
I recently participated in a residency where for three months, I documented the changes in the city- the result of a lot of demolition to expand the railway station. Each day the landscape was altered, and I worked quickly to photograph and notate the changes in large mixed-media drawings, and one large permanent wall painting. The residency was held in a soon-to-be-demolished apartment building, and I was given a flat to use as a studio. This was the first time that I was able to work site- specifically, I painted on the largest wall in the house, carving into the wall, painting on it, removing wallpaper and then layering it back on. This process was very invigorating to me; I enjoyed the challenge of covering a huge space, and reacting to a specific architectural environment. The wall work has a similar sensibility to my other paintings and drawings, but I had to adjust to the scale and the surface, and all of my habits were challenged and stretched. I was able to work looser and more sculpturally.
In the studio at Gallery Aferro, I would like to explore the surrounding neighborhoods, and build up a composition first of all using local imagery, but also using imagery from my daily life, which would be spent traveling between the program and my apartment in NYC. All of these spaces would be woven together as a record of my surroundings, and a record of the demolition, change, and renewal that is a constant factor in all cities. In my practice, I take the endless motions of a city and slow them down, showing a sort of frame-by- frame account of the demolition and construction, but these frames are overlapped and jumbled together. I would like to work directly on the walls in the studio, and to see how the work can become even more dimensional, moving into and out of the wall. I plan to work on small works on paper at the same time.
My practice investigates structures that regulate human behavior. These include those that are self-made and those that are inflicted by external forces. I am interested in how these systems inform our perception of time, and shape lived experience.
A few questions:
What constitutes a lived life? How do we choose what activities (labor/leisure) we repeat, and what we isolate as a moment in time? How does repetition and variation shape identity and autonomy?
My work builds and takes from systems that are human made, those in which error and subjectivity are immersed into the layers of logic. I draw inspiration from task lists, diary entries, weather reports, navigation systems, and repetitive behaviors. With video at the center of my practice, my work takes the form of single channel videos, installations, drawings, and performances.
These ideas inform not only my approach to art, but to how I exist living in a high-density city where space and time are the ultimate commodity. My work offers temporary respite from the systems of regulation I subscribe to. It provides a sense of autonomy and a way to take a hold of time as a producer, and not a victim of its passing.
During my residency, I will be working on an ongoing project called The Edna Experiments. The project began during the summer of 2009 and has become a platform for producing a series of drawings and videos about idiosyncratic systems, revolving around everyday mundane tasks. The project was initially inspired by a series of diaries that I found in 2008 that chronicle the life of a woman named Edna. In these diaries she records the most mundane details of her life (mainly domestic labor), but absolutely no emotions. I became interested in these diaries both as a score for creating time-based work from, but also as a bazaar record of a life. The project has since expanded from using the diaries as sole source material, to the creation of other fictional self-regulatory structures that I develop through my own writing.
During my time at the Aferro, I plan to culminate this project into a large-scale installation that will include drawings, video, and objects. I am interested in creating a three dimensional space that is a kind of diary, or space where time and labor are simultaneously enacted and recorded.
In the past year I have begun a project involving castings of chewing gum. This project began in an exhibition space in Beacon, for the duration of one month, a number of Hudson Valley based artists and I converted a commercial gallery into a studio space to collectively create work in; as my contribution to this activity, I was distributing packages of chewing gum to participating artists and viewers, then collecting the chewed pieces, casting them in plaster and assembling the individual castings into compositions on painted wood panels—creating a tangible physical record of the individuals who were interacting in the gallery space. I would be very interested to pursue this project on a larger scale and over a longer duration of time.
The second component to this cast chewing gum project that Gallery Aferro’s Market Street location would be well suited for, involves making textural castings of the flattened chewing gum embedded into the sidewalk in front of the gallery. These low-relief castings would then be displayed as relief sculptural compositions—creating a site-specific relationship to the gallery
space while recontextualizing and celebrating an often overlooked record of human presence and involvement.
Working along a continuum between drawing and photography, my practice involves both photo-based digital montage works and drawing installation works. I will use my time in residence to test materials, produce a major drawing installation in the Aferro space, as well as to plan and apply for off-site site-specific installations, using my work at Aferro as a springboard. The residency will allow me concentrated time to experiment and to conduct in-studio production of potential off-site works.
Over the past three years I have conceived
and produced two bodies of photomontage work, Nicebergs and Icebergs and Mark. My last drawing installation was
This was a 50x40 ft. piece that I produced and installed on the risers
of the museum’s outdoor front staircase, generating the visual effect
of fragmentation and reconciliation, depending on where the viewer positioned
him or herself.
Calla Thompson’s art practice crosses media, examining the way power is enacted and exchanged in our culture. The visual language and wry humor in her work are at once comforting and familiar, dislocating and suggestive.
The kitchen table is a very important symbol and vehicle for stimulating creativity and achieving excellence in my life and psyche. I have been aware for some time that James Joyce had a special relationship with his kitchen. When it came to his great masterpiece Ulysses, Joyce “worked wherever he could find space - at a kitchen table, in the living room, or sometimes even propped up in bed." The kitchen table of my family of origin served as an aid in propelling two of four children into the position of high school class Valedictorian. For creating my sculpture, in place of my kitchen table, I actually use the portable dishwasher, which has wheels, which are very helpful for a person working in 3-D. According to the historians, Dylan Thomas’ first desk was his kitchen table. In summary, the breakfast nook in my kitchen currently serves as my studio. I use my portable dishwasher instead of my real sculpture table. I work in intervals of 20 minutes or less with regular interruptions from my children, telephone and doorbell. Nothing has prevented me from making art.
The human figure is the inspiration, starting point, and measure of all things in my artwork. In earlier works I have represented life-size figures and larger than life body parts. My artwork is a celebration of life. As in much of the artwork that we have from antiquity, my work is also a memorial to those who have died. In our modern time, most of us are familiar with photographic images of global war, natural disasters, and human suffering. In a sense every time that I combine groups of bodies, groups of heads, or use any human references, I memorialize and celebrate the lives of those victims and also the survivors. The human figures in my sculptures are represented as alive, not dead, and they occupy a level of existence that celebrates humanity and togetherness even in times of great tragedy and terror.