Studios > 2012 Residents
The desire to belong somewhere definitive, as opposed to straddling multiple cultural identities, is common amongst expatriates. The social demographic of neither here nor there is a fragile middle space to navigate. In my diaspora experience, I hone a genetic memory of West Africa, but have simultaneously formed a unique hybrid culture and identity to authenticate my existence.
In my work I explore themes of authenticity, cross-cultural synapse and the migration towards or away from aspects of one’s origin. My large-scale drawings create a visual vocabulary to identify various populations and the hybrid that ensues as a cross pollination of those cultures and peoples. The imagery of these characters often reference biological organisms and processes, or mathematic functions that have the ability to both divide and multiply. Each drawing investigates the dynamic and complex relationships these distinct identities and cultures have with one another. Their visual interactions address issues of a presumed cultural hierarchy, various degrees of kinship and the isolationist desire to maintain authenticity.
I view drawing as a self-sufficient, non-precursory medium, with an ability to absorb, layer, erase and reveal mark-making processes. Drawing is an interactive dialogue between myself, the paper, the materials and the processes. It is a back and forth exchange where I both relinquish control to the inherent nature of my materials, while actively making conscious decisions to either initiate marks or respond. Upon ‘completion’ there are multiple drawings that exist beneath the visible surface of the paper.
Ruby Onyinyechi Amanze is a brooklyn based artist and educator of Nigerian birth and British upbringing. She has come to not only accept this reality, but ultimately find empowerment in the authenticity of the hybrid. Her drawings have been influenced greatly by textile processes, print-making, collage, architecture and the Japanese philosophy of wabi-sabi that emphasizes the beauty in that which is transient. Her collection of writings are just words, slightly disjointed like thoughts, and hopefully minus sequins or other forms of embellishment. During her time at Tyler School of Art in Philadelphia, she studied photography and fiber/material studies. She then went on to earn an inter-disciplinary MFA at Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. Aside from her passion for art, Ruby is one of those weird running people. Outside. On a track. Up hills. And in her mind.
Alexandra Desipris and Polina Zaitseva
Polina Zaitseva and Alexandra Desipris will be utilizing this collaborative residency to explore various ideas connecting women and nature and women as intermediaries between humanity as a whole and the natural world. The intention is to cover different spectrums of this theme and coincide with a joint film project while influencing each others personal work by communication and exchange.
my main ideas have been revolving around female image and
self-identity, this project includes animalistic themes of human nature.
I question if the civility truly exists in modern women without trying
to prove anything. It is a visual narrative, as well as a study of
innocence and animal impudence. I will be using mixed media, such as
photography and digital manipulation to reflect the animalistic nature
of a woman thriving for identity. No matter how we box our identity
into a civilized world, we are still the animal within.
During the residency I will be working on “Brick City," a collection of bricks from around the city with painted scenes of Newark on each brick. Separately each brick stands alone as a symbol of its painted scenario. However together they form “Brick City, “ a reflective look at our beautiful city in the artist form of its name sake. The plan is to complete the series within the 6 month residency time period with a public showing at the end. Approximately 50-60 bricks will be painted on to create an entire brick wall of images of Newark. Each brick will offer a subtle flavor and history of the city rarely seen displayed together. The piece is to remind its citizens and all that view the exhibit of the beauty that Newark possesses even through the years of negatively stained rumors. Once completed, each brick will be photographed to create an up-to-date, educational yet fun coffee table history book on Newark and its wonders and people.The book will be self published and for sale while the piece is on display. The goal here is to bring all the beauty of Newark to the forefront of our minds and to remind us that our city has more to offer than most remember or realize.
As a Newark born artist, the trials and tribulations of living in the inner city have helped to shape my passion and appreciation for life. My artistic style is pure, unique and thought provoking. It is a reflection of my passion towards my fellow man. I seek to pass on and inspire positive messages to my community an all who view my works. I specialize in portraiture impressions through visual translation based on individualized customer needs. I have studied many forms of art; oil, watercolor, acrylic, pencil, charcoal and pastels. My specific style offers a strong, colorful and mysterious perspective on people geared towards inspiring everyone to remember their own vitality for life and beauty.
In continuing my exploration of the effects of the environment on individuals through art, I will use my studio space at the Gallery Aferro as a research lab where I could not only document the effects of the environment on individuals, but also create an environment for them to react to.
Environmental psychology is a direct study of the relationship between an environment and how that environment affects its inhabitants. Specific aspects of this field work by identifying a problem and through the identification of said problem, discovering a solution. Therefore it is necessary for environmental psychology to be problem oriented. The problems identified by environmental psychologists affect all members of society. These problems can be anything from the psychological effects of urban crowding to the architectural design of public schools and extend from the public arena into the individual household.
In society, individuals are exposed to different forms of the environment that they are faced with everyday -- encompassing natural environments, social settings, built environments, learning environments, and informational environments. All of these environments can be overwhelming or underwhelming and thus a driving force in ones attitudes, moods, and beliefs. I’m interested in delving into the psyche of individuals to see how they are being affected. And studying this through art can be very revealing of what’s up with society today.
James Horner is a painter who lives in New York City. His colorful expressionistic paintings explore the psychological effects of the environment on individuals. Figures are often abstracted to the point of the grotesque and overwhelmed or torn apart by their surroundings. Shapes interact with figures in space as lines connect atmospheres in different directions, creating islands with systems of thought. Horner communicates his viewpoint thorough a unique style of painting, which samples from traditional and contemporary abstract/expressionist, surrealist, pop art.
Horner has an MFA in painting from Lehman College; has exhibited nationally and internationally in group shows; regularly donates work for charity art auctions, such as the Bellport Boys and Girls Club Beach Ball and the Housingworks Design on a Dime; won the OUT Magazine Tylenol PM Sleepwear Design Challenge, and participates in the annual Harlem Art Walking Tour of open studios. He is also an art critic for the Examiner and Bronx Art Guide websites and writes a blog called James and the Lovelies.
I build large multi- media installations through which I confront the complexity of my migratory history as I have roots in India, Pakistan and Canada with a North African birth. Through the fragments of my known identity I piece together my culture and place of belonging the result being a constructed space that incorporates many cultures. Through my installations I am literally trying to find my own place within my current locale while taking into consideration my personal as well as my family’s history.
I construct domestic structures by utilizing building materials such as concrete, bricks, plaster and wood. To complete the puzzle of my story of migration I incorporate objects that originate from the places to which I lay claim into my work. I have used grasses from Northern Ontario, sand from India and old family photographs. The materials and the process used within my work is symbolic to my ongoing attempt to identify my place of belonging. My installations are spaces that represent fragments of homes that have been constructed from threading together memories and imagining an environment that defines my bicultural socialization. From gathering family stories, historical artefacts and through my own personal experience I continuously weave a story of migration, culture, nationalism and identity.
Mona Kamal attempts to define the complexity of her migratory history through installations. She has exhibited throughout Canada, in New York and in New Delhi India. Mona has had solo exhibitions at YYZ Artists’ Outlet and the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Ontario as well as group exhibitions at A Space Gallery in Toronto, Rush Arts Gallery and Exit Art in New York and Gallery Espace in New Delhi. She has received several grants for the creation of her artworks through the Ontario and the Toronto Arts Councils. She has attended residencies at the Banff Centre in Banff, Canada (2011) the Sanskriti Foundation in New Delhi (2007), Studio LLC at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (2011). She is an active member of the arts community in New York and has curated an exhibition (2010) and taught at Parsons the New School for Design. She received her BFA from NSCAD University in Halifax Canada and her MFA from Parsons the New School for Design. Mona lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Decolonizing the mind is an installation performance with public interaction in regards to pedagogy as it relates to issues of identity, race and class stratification. The walls of the space will be consumed by chalkboards with text and images opposite blank chalkboards for the public's response. Simultaneously, four high school students will be creating a pile of old school desk in the middle of the space that will involve sound and audio from Ngugi Wa Thiongo's book "Decolonizing the Mind".
"Language as culture is the collective memory bank of a people's experience in history". - Ngugi Wa Thiongo
Searching for my own reconciliation between nature and culture it was necessary for me to contemplate on the intrinsic value of both. As an artist and citizen, it is vital that my life practice and studio work seamlessly co-exist, aiming to have as little negative impact on the environment as possible. Investigating new approaches to art-making coincides with rethinking of materials and methodologies and how these new ideas could be applied in the broader culture as well.
for its nostalgic and historical reference. The shift toward human-powered energy production using such motifs is to bring the body into direct relationship with the objects. These objects are made with re-purposed mechanical and bicycle parts and coupled with
new energy-efficient technology inspired by DIY thinking and human-powered mechanisms used in developing countries. The projects specifically link energy and a local resource being managed or used that has global repercussions; such as energy and
water in the desert or energy and topsoil in the Midwest.
My personal experience with embodied knowledge leads me to believe that humans learn deeply through experiential stimulus in our bodies. Human-powered tasks promote physical and psychological awareness of the relationship between human consumption
and human expenditure. In my research, I seek to understand how the use of human-power can affect attitudes and behavior toward resource use. Is it meaningful to a society with abundant wealth or only when there is economic disparity and social injustice
present, such as in developing countries (where human-power is essential in providing basic conveniences)? The mechanisms may not power modern homes – that isn’t the intention. I believe, though, that the act provides a closer connection to the process and
highlights a very important notion – that of empowerment.
S*OIL examines the history of industrialization in relation to living systems. At the nucleus of the installation is a railway handcar mechanism that generates electricity to power visual components. The installation magnifies the complexities inherent in natural
processes and raises the question: Can industrial processes be modified to emulate the closed-loop, sustainable methodologies of natural processes? The project is currently in the prototype stage and the goal is to complete it this spring for a solo exhibition next fall.This project will require some offsite fabrication (metal), video editing, programming and testing of the Botanicalls unit, assembling the planters and framing, and growing the seedlings.
The second project, Mobilis, will be a nine-foot human-powered convertible automobile with a hand held GPS device (a smart phone) that communicates with Google Earth running on a mac mini. When the user enters coordinates of wilderness areas into the cell phone program, Google Earth locates the geographical area as well as the adjacent corridors with industrial activity, to screen on a monitor. But in order to see the satellite images the user must pedal to power the monitor. I will be working on the software
aspect, a topographical map book, drawings and building a prototype. My goal is to have the prototype completed by the end of the residency for ISEA2012 (International Symposium on Electronic Art) in September.
The third project is to create a human-power project kit that would accompany me during workshops at educational institutions. The kit will be a small-scale version of my installation practice, making human-powered ‘artworks’ accessible to students and
educators in an easy-to-assemble DIY kit. Additional parts are included for the user to create something original to power. I will have a first version prototype ready for a workshop I will give late April and depending on the results from that workshop, I will
work with a product designer to finalize a prototype before seeking investors to continue through to the manufacturing stage.
I’ve been a practicing artist for the past 12 years, focusing primarily on painting. I have explored many styles and color palettes throughout that time before evolving into my current state. As I’ve continued my practice, the process has become more improvisational. The act of painting is a conversation between the work and I. I am not interested in a rote approach to art making. It is through letting go that discoveries are made. As far as subject, ideas come from experiences. Whether it be from books, movies, conversations or some chance encounter on the street; inspiration is everywhere.
I’m intrigued by people’s interaction in society, a theme my art shares with my former vocation of American historian. Actually, I should say that missed connection fascinates me as much as interaction, for obliviousness—to other people, to utter disaster—inhabits my work, perhaps more than the interaction I tell myself I’d prefer to find.
My paintings and drawings since 2009 span a range from abstract to figurative. Currently I’m concentrating on digital + manual paintings inspired by the archive of Brooklyn photographs made in the 1970s and 1980s by Lucille Fornasieri-Gold. My Brooklyn paintings spring from various roots: a photographic archive, printmaking, collage, and a process both digital and manual. On top of scanned, edited, colored, composed, fractured, layered, repeated, and flattened images produced with Photoshop, I paint colors and patterns whose textures can come only from a painter’s hand. Their imagery betrays digital manipulation, and their painterly surfaces occlude historical import.
My formal art training consists of a BFA in painting from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers-the State University of New Jersey in 2009 and an MFA in painting from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2011. In my previous life as historian I earned a Ph.D. at Harvard in 1974 and held the Edwards Professorship in American History at Princeton University. I have published seven books, the most recent, The History of White People, came out in March of this year with a front-page review in the New York Times Book Review. Currently the Virtual Artist in Residence of the Creative Research Center of Montclair State University, I have shown my work in student exhibitions at Mason Gross and RISD and supplied cover art for a book of poetry and last summer’s issue of the journal SIGNS. While I was an undergraduate at Rutgers, NJN TV’s “State of the Arts” profiled me as both historian and art student. In 2012 the Brooklyn Historical Society will mount an exhibition of my Brooklyn paintings along with the photographic archive that inspired them.