Mie Yim

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Artist’s Statement

As a Korean-born artist, I am interested in the intersection of Asian pop visual culture and American post-war painting. My oil paintings are portraits of animal-human hybrids. They are beings that have gone through some kind of transformative journey, through the process of built up of form and figure and paint and surface. Erasing, rendering, smearing, modeling. I like the tension of having the range of illustrative figures, then loose, floppy paint obliterating the figure, letting abstraction come through, finding the balance. In my paintings, I foster multiple positions in the cultural, anthropomorphic and art historical identities.

As a child, I was weaned on Hello Kitty and various other hopelessly cute dolls and fluffy animals. Later, as an art student in United States, I felt nourished by Phillip Guston, Willem DeKooning, and also Italian painters like Caravaggio. I think of my characters as distant cousins of imagined creatures, avatars of anxiety, lust and longing. They iterate playfulness with dark underpinnings. Maybe underneath the sugary puff balls and banal gaze, it’s all guts and turmoil and existential crisis. I hope the viewer can sense the edge of East/West, Abstract/Figurative.

The fragmental element in my life becomes whole in my art.

Mie Yim was born in South Korea in 1963. She grew up in Hawaii, earned a B.F.A. from the Philadelphia College of Art, and spent a year at the Tyler School of Art’s program in Rome. Her work has been displayed in numerous international exhibitions, including solo shows at Lehmann Maupin Gallery and Michael Steinberg Fine Arts in New York as well as the Galleria in Arco in Turin, Italy. She was included in “Selections” at the Drawing Center, and her work has been shown in group exhibitions at the ATM Gallery, Feature, Inc. and the Ise Cultural Foundation in New York, as well as Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas and The Weatherspoon Art Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina. She has been selected for the AIM program at The Bronx Museum of the Arts and the Jurors Award at N.Y.U. Gallery. Her work has been collected at such places as the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Kansas City and the Chambers Hotel in New York City and published on the back cover of a textbook called “Social Text” by Duke University. Her writing has been included in “THIS,” a Collection of artists’ writings edited by Susan Jennings. She is the author of a book called “A.B.C. of S.E.X.” and a recipient of a New York Foundation for the Arts Painting Fellowship. She lives and works in New York City.

Sandy Litchfield

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Artist’s Statement

My recent work explores evolutionary cycles of cities. My paintings are informed by a diverse collection of imagery including old distorted maps, pictures of ancient and mythic cities, utopian blueprints and early renaissance landscapes. These are typically combined with my own photographs in studies using collage and paint. I look for compositions that emphasize our positional relationships to place- like being over, under, around, or inside. I also pay attention to the flows of traffic and the ways that transportation and infrastructure are formed over and around the existing environment. As living systems, cities share an uncanny resemblance to forests– both grow upwards and outwards on vertical and lateral frameworks; both can appear as glittering spectacles of light with variable contrast; and both harbor diversity and sustenance. The – the ways that urban infrastructure grows over (and out of) an old collapsed edifice- is also comparable to forests. Just as a dead tree provides nourishment for new under-growth, so do the old structures of a city enrich the cultural heritage of the metropolis. My approach to making art is initially research driven. Once an artwork has begun to take form, my process shifts away from the research towards a more intuitive approach, responding to formal elements, materials and surface. I use a range of painterly mediums along with collage and digital media. This method- of layering, cutting, drawing, tearing, painting, scanning, printing and gluing- obscures the distinctions between the mechanical image and the handmade.

Born in New York City, Sandy Litchfield lives in Amherst, Massachusetts where she is an Assistant Professor at the University of Massachusetts. She received her BFA from the University of Colorado and her MFA from UMass Amherst. In 2007 Litchfield attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Her work has been recognized with grants from the New Britain Museum, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Puffin Foundation. Litchfield has exhibited in museums including the DeCordova Museum and Sculpture Park, Nicolaysen Art Museum, Portland Art Museum, and Hunterdon Museum. Her work has been selected for review by the Brooklyn Rail, New American Paintings and the Boston Globe.

Steve DeFrank

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Artist’s Statement

I unapologetically embrace all the formal skills of object making that engage old-fashioned, soul-baring individuality with absurdity, acknowledging the pleasure, pain, and awkwardness of being human. These works never take themselves, or the fabricated insights they open onto, too seriously. I see them as alive, as walking away from the wall. It’s a feeling that the works are energetic, active in our world, not separate —they have a sort of aliveness all their own. I feel as if they have a human scale, a figurative property; in some instances more obviously and in others, less so.

Steve DeFrank (stevedefrank.com), fine artist, lover of salsa but has no rhythm, a Lucha libre (Mexican Wrestling) fanatic, BFA, Maryland Art Institute College of Art; MFA, School of Visual Arts. Awards and honors include Fulbright Scholar Mexico, Lillian Orlowsky and William Freed Foundation Grant, American Academy of Arts and Letters Award to an outstanding painter. Five solo shows in New York, two-person show Provincetown Museum of Art. Way too many group shows to mention. In collections of the New Museum, SEI/West Family Collection, and the Eli and Edyth Broad Art Museum. Cover Art for the New York Times Magazine. Publications include: New York Times, Art in America, New Yorker Talk of the Town, Village Voice and Vice Magazine.

Kate Brown

Artist’s Statement

What I like to do most of all is wonder. This Is what sets my work in motion. When I wondered what ‘negative space’ could possibly be or if it existed all, I began an investigation in my work that would span two decades. Questioning that one standard, but obsolete, phrase from the language of painting, propelled me through numerous media like blow torch paintings on wood, burlap bag installations and a substantial body of work on black velvet tarpaulins with extracted markings, text, images and at times, projections. It was also the basis for my thesis.

In 2010, I felt that my investigation had led me right back to painting itself. After two decades I began to paint on canvas once again. I felt that what I had studied, learned and experienced about space must now be synthesized. I had to trust that my findings would present themselves on canvas. I began to wonder about gravity and drops and how many drops did a space need to comprise a form. How many intersections would cause a direction change in the line and on and on, on and on, I wonder.

Kate Brown has exhibited her work nationally and internationally. After earning her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York, Brown developed her own visual language using extract on black velvet tarpaulins. Although these large scale singular works garnered critical attention, Brown persisted with her investigation into the language and perception of space, which has now led her back to painting on canvas. Kate Brown continues her focused exploration in the solitude of her forest studio, the Lilac Hill Creative Reserve, three hours north of Toronto, and visits New York frequently.

Yura Adams

Artist’s Statement

I am a painter working within a contemporary practice; using color and energy to conduct the voices of poetry and science in my work. My studio is in an industrial building located in the middle of fields that have mostly gone back to nature and my paintings are a visual response to rhythmic forms I observe in the environment.

My most recent body of work is titled Nature Dress and is based on diversity of pattern and fluid motion in nature. Walking the farm road is an influential activity. I look at the flow of the adjacent Williams River, the visuals of the storms I have to beat to get back to my car, bird and plant patterning, and especially, color temperature shifts driven by changing light. When painting, I like to improvise with hand-cut stencils, sprayed and poured paint, and loose drawing. I jumble my painting supplies; quotidian and refined materials side by side. It is important to me to instigate chance encounters with materials. Taking as many risks as I can, I like to hook my intuition to my painting practice as I search for an idiosyncratic version of beauty.

Yura Adams is a painter with an interdisciplinary career based in the San Francisco Bay area, Lower East Side of NYC, the Hudson Valley and currently Western Massachusetts. Adams received her BFA and MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute and is currently represented by the John Davis Gallery in Hudson, New York. Her work has been exhibited extensively on both coasts of the U.S. and she has been the recipient of two NEA grants, three DEC grants and was selected for the New York Foundation of the Arts Mark program.

Mary DeVincentis

Artist’s Statement

Very early on, I got interested in the meta-themes of life. Why are we here? How do we create meaning and purpose? I grew up in the suburbs of a typical American town. All manner of trauma happened in my home and in neighbors’ homes, beneath the prettified veneer of suburban life. So you see that contradiction reflected in a lot of my work. Society now moves at such a fast pace and demands that our attention be outward in focus. Time without external stimulation starts to feel threatening, as we attend less and less to our internal well being. Unclaimed, our shadowy aspects get projected outward onto the “other.” This is the theme of my series of paintings, Sin Eaters, which explores who or what volunteers or is volunteered to absorb or reflect these disowned aspects. This shadowy side is also addressed in this series, Dark Matters. I strive for a dynamic tension between form and content in my work. I appreciate seeing evidence of the artist’s physicality, their unique fingerprint, as evidenced in brush-stroke and mark making. Paint is kin to skin, viscera, blood, mineral, plant and stardust.

Mary DeVincentis is currently working on Dark Matters, a series of paintings which explores the shadow side of human experience, and Sin Eaters, a series which depicts society’s saints, martyrs, scapegoats and outcasts. Her work has been exhibited at Life on Mars Gallery, the International Print Center, the New York Public Library, White Columns, and the Brooklyn Museum. It is represented in numerous private and public collections. She received her BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and a Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Printmaking from St. Martins College of Art in London, UK. She lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Cynthia Carlson

Artist’s Statement

I began this group of paintings by connecting several different sized canvases together, making a shaped surface of complex edges as a starting point. The painted surfaces evolved running the gamut of possibility from geometric abstraction to modulated fields, and includes eccentric shapes invented purely for themselves. Sometimes they conform to, sometimes openly defy, the physical boundaries of individual canvases. The process includes a great deal of serendipity, and the results reflect a playfulness in the use of shape, color and contradictory spaces. Artist friends have likened them to puzzles or games, which I find appealing.

Born in Chicago, Cynthia Carlson (cynthiacarlsonartist.com) moved to NYC in 1965 for graduate studies in art. Her 50 year career includes over 45 one person exhibits in galleries and museums in the USA. Awards include a Rockerfeller Foundation Award, NY Foundation for the Arts Grant, 3 National Endowment for the Arts Grants and others. She is represented in numerous museum collections, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Museum of Art, Guggenheim Museum,and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. She has also traveled extensively in the USA and Europe, living in Italy for several years.

Keren Kroul

Artist Statement

I mine memories for fragments of belonging and desire, moments of personal identity waiting at the edges of things: patches of summer sunlight on my grandmother’s bedroom floor, streaks of deep indigo in the sea at dusk, the rough texture of an old carpet under my feet. These ephemera are repeated and layered, twisted and tangled, becoming dense formations, map-like places of memory and identity.

Drawing is at the heart of my work. With watercolor on paper, I use tiny brushes to mark the passage of time in a meticulous, repetitive, and meditative process. Lines become shapes, then patterns, and then structures, hovering over the silence of the paper. I am drawn to the immediacy of watercolor, and to the reflection of the hand in the work: irregular and imperfect and of the moment. The play between micro and macro, the fragility of the single line against the physicality of the overall piece, and the fluid interconnectedness of memory, time, and place, drives the work.

Keren Kroul was born in Haifa, Israel, to an Argentinean father and Israeli mother, and grew up in Mexico City and Costa Rica. She currently resides in Minnesota. She holds an MFA in painting from Parsons School of Design (NY) and a BA in fine arts from Brandeis University (MA). Her work was featured in the 2014 Minnesota Biennial at the Minnesota Museum of American Art (MN), and has been exhibited regionally and nationally. Kroul is a recipient of a 2015 Artist Initiative Grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board.

Editors’ Notes (Posit 9)


Welcome to Posit 9!

We love this first issue of 2016, which makes us think, in a number of different ways, about the expansive potential of artistic innovation. First, there is the incorporation and re-appropriation managed by the procedural poetry of Carlo Matos and Travis Macdonald, offering glimpses of the erased and remixed words of writers like Simone Muench, Mark Lamoureux, and Paul Killibrew. In addition, there is the implicit dialogue between new and previous work by returning contributors — in this issue: Darren C. Demaree, Howie Good, and Travis Macdonald. All of which reminds us of the extent to which art is, by definition, about incorporation and re-imagination, whether it is Anis Shivani’s Great Wall, Howie Good’s tornado, Robert McBrearty life story, Eileen Tabios’s litany of wonders and horrors, or the alchemical transformation of source material aced by every artist (visual as well as literary) featured in this exciting issue. So, it is with great pleasure that we invite you to peruse:

Darren C. Demaree’s spare, suggestive, “quiet, lowered /. . . roaring/ . . .& ecstatic” probings of identity, intimacy, and the quest for grace;

Samantha Duncan’s smart, tightly-wound, vivid constructions tracking a paradoxical “graduation from the gradient” via “veins that listen” to her extremely telling “curl/ of words;”

Raymond Farr’s wistful prosody, revealing “the sublime the ironic like a 5 o’clock shadow” where “love is a man ruled by the sun & not the itch in his bones” and “even this sad yellow paint has seven shades of itself;”

Howie Good’s somber prose poems populated by “a new god seated on a throne of razor wire,” “gray gulls, their shrieks like symptoms of dementia,” and “words, some bandaged, others still bleeding” mercifully leavened by irony, imagination, and even love;

Maja Lukic’s quietly intense evocations of cityscapes furnished with “gutted wind” and a sky which “promises to rain / money bags and emoji,” or offers snow like “cracked glitter, paw imprints in new dustings, / effigies of our old breath, frozen in the air;”

Travis Macdonald’s compelling remixes of poems by Killibrew and Lamoureux, demonstrating “how all true/going is taking” and raising intriguing questions about the relationship between vocabulary and voice;

Carlo Matos’ haunting erasures of Simone Muench’s Wolf Centos (themselves reconfigurations of other poetic texts), troubling our assumptions about center vs periphery, absence vs presence, and the loud voice of the unsaid, “when tenderness/nestles down/with her she-mask” — “sans teeth, sans/you;”

Robert Garner McBrearty’s impossibly compressed microfiction, in which the task of writing his companion’s life story deteriorates to stunning effect;

Cindy Savett’s intriguing invitation to follow her on “a trip where the babies lie flat/ tracing resistance with their fingertips” leading us careening “down the middle in an instant of delight,” only to stand speechless wondering “how do I sing of white lilacs and pine?”

Anis Shivani’s virtuosic bricolage of allusive musicality and aphoristic insights nailing “art, the fleabite to time,” transforming “partial manuscripts signed/ by the angels of detritus” into “experimental gardens . . . [imbued with] the nuance of musicality;”

Eileen R. Tabios’ masterful litany of all that could never again be forgotten, once she “composed this song that would turn you into ice, so that you will know with my next note what it means to shatter into tiny pieces the universe will ignore;”

and Leah Umansky’s inspired revelations of the “satisfaction in seeing the day as something clear for landing or for sending off” where “once, there was the falling of night and I was alone with its steepness, and . . . felt I was a pooling of light; a door-sliver and golden beam.”

Thank you, as ever, for reading.

Susan Lewis and Bernd Sauermann


And welcome to the visual art of Posit 9!

Keren Kroul’s complex and beautiful paintings evoke maps of imaginary countries or the pathways of the brain. The individual sections stand strongly on their own, but conjoined in the large grids presented here, they make a statement that is simultaneously bold and intimate. The sum is as beautiful as the parts.

The mixed media sculptures of Sydney Ewerth turn our expectations about space and materials topsy-turvy. Her play with the object and its painted shadows confounds our expectations even while her materials and colors delight the eye. Her aesthetic is clear and the work masterful.

Don Porcaro choreographs an elegant dance between the two- and three-dimensional pieces presented here. It is evident how his work in one medium reverberates into another. His colorful and almost playful forms belie the serious artistic concerns that underlie this evocative body of work.

The lyrical paintings of Sarah Slavick are reminiscent of the movement of water, wind and sand. The rhythm and dynamism of her patterns are mesmerizing, with light and color moving through and around them, underscoring their complexity.

Mariah Karson presents a fascinating vision of landscape, whether it be the interior landscapes of abandoned school buildings or the poetics of isolated buildings in desolate settings. The solitude in her photographs is profound, and perhaps a little lonely. However, she frames this vision with a clarity that is elegant and precise.

Melissa Stern

Katarina Wong

Artist’s Statement

I began this series after my father unexpectedly died in 2009. I was unable to work for several months after his death, and when I returned to my practice I was surprised to see a radical shift in the work. These paintings emerged from this personal experience of grief and loss.

Sumi ink holds a special place for me. My father and I learned traditional Chinese painting techniques together, so this medium is infused with those memories of us being beginners together.

I began by splashing sumi ink against the surface of paper or clayboard. From there, working without self-censorship, I excavated images revealed by my subconscious. They are, in a sense, DIY Rorschach tests and became ways through which I could begin to understand the impact of profound chaos – what happens to us when the existential rug is pulled out from under us.

Katarina Wong is a NYC-based visual artist and also the founder of MADE, a consultancy dedicated to helping a wider-range of collectors discover and acquire art. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, including at El Museo Del Barrio in NYC, The Bronx Museum, The Fowler Museum in LA, the Nobel Museum in Stockholm, Sweden and Fundacion Canal in Madrid, Spain. Her work is in numerous private and public collections including the Scottsdale Museum of Art and the Frost Art Museum in Miami, FL.

She has received numerous awards, including the Cintas Fellowship for Cuban and Cuban-American artists and a Pollock-Krasner grant, as well as residencies at Skowhegan; Ucross Foundation; Ragdale Foundation, the Kunstlerhaus in Salzberg, Austria; and the Open Art Residency in Eretria, Greece. She holds an MFA from the University of Maryland at College Park and a Master in Theological Studies (Buddhism) from the Harvard Divinity School.