Soledad Salamé

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—images courtesy of Goya Contemporary and the artist—

Artist’s Statement

 

My art is a conceptual and visual exploration of the intersection of science, technology, and social justice issues defining the age in which we live. Engaged with the political implications of environmental issues, my recent work maps vulnerable marginalized communities suffering the greatest consequences of natural disasters.

Working in glass, silk, and paper effectively extended my visual vocabulary, incorporating textual relief elements to underscore collective negligence regarding climate change, including rapid melting of glaciers and polar ice caps. Climate change has triggered people’s migration from areas affected by rising water and unstable weather. In the USA, Border security policies intensify the social impact of migration, exacerbating unsustainable environmental practices.

Our world is in a constant flux and transformation. The way we communicate our actions’ consequences has been transformed. We once created a tactile object – a newspaper — providing a richly physical interaction made from plant-based paper; today, with the slow death of print media, we interact with world news through digital reporting, easily distorted or manipulated.

I wish to record this change as a call to action to protect both the earth’s precious natural resources and its people, while pointing to the fragile beauty surrounding us. By magnifying the pleasures inherent in natural materials — paper, textiles, and even sand-based glass – my work seeks to remind us of the magnificence and splendor that may be lost if we do not protect the environment.

Soledad Salamé, American, was born in Santiago, Chile in 1954. She currently lives and works
in Baltimore, Maryland, where she directs Sol Print Studio, an experimental space for artists to develop and refine their printmaking skills.

 

From 1973 to 1983 Salamé lived and studied in Venezuela. During this time she was exposed to the rainforest, a pivotal experience in her artistic development. As an interdisciplinary artist, Salamé creates work that originates from extensive research of specific environmental and human rights topics. In the pursuit of new ideas, she has conducted intensive field research in the Americas, and Antarctica.

Her work has been presented at multiple venues, Baltimore Museum of Art, Contemporary Museum, Baltimore, MD. Milwaukee Art Museum, WI; Denver Museum of Art, CO; Miami Art Museum, FL; El Museo Del Barrio, NY; The Women Museum, Washington DC; and the Museo de Bellas Artes, Santiago, Chile.

Salamé’s work is represented in private and public collections internationally, including The National Gallery of Art, Washington DC, The National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington DC, The Baltimore Museum of Art. Her work is included in The Contemporary Museum, 20 Years, by Irene Hoffman, Latin American Women Artists of the United States, by Robert Henkes and Latin American Art in the Twentieth Century, by Edward J. Sullivan.

Donna McCullough

 

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Artist’s Statement

 

Fashion is well known as a reliable reflection of cultural trends and historical events. On a personal level, it has become my creative vehicle for exploring and recording life events—my three dimensional diary.

My inspiration arose from contemplating the dichotomy between the perception of women as fragile, delicate creatures, and the reality that most women are defined by resiliency and steely resolve. My work is about women and culture – women throughout history and women in my life. I employ a juxtaposition of extremes such as lightness and gravity, suppleness and intransigence, to convey feminine sensibilities.

Crafted of steel and embellished with flourishes of wire mesh, screening, cut-outs and bits of found objects, the dresses are at once both elegant and imposing. I use steel and various found metals including tin cans and vintage oil cans. Nearly all of the materials I use are recycled. I like the duplicitous nature of steel which can be manipulated to appear feminine and soft while actually maintaining its strength and rigidity—an expression in contrasts and complements. Through the dresses, I am combining opposites to activate harmonious and ethereal beauty.

Donna M. McCullough was born and currently lives in Maryland. Beginning her career as a painter and print maker, McCullough switched to sculpture in 1996. Working mostly in steel and found objects, she has also ventured into other media including stone and wood. She has exhibited at the Corcoran Museum of Art, the Art Museum of the Americas, the Hickory Museum of Art, the International Museum of the Horse, the Grounds for Sculpture, and the United States Botanic Garden. Her work is in collections nationally and internationally.

Ana Rendich

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Artist’s Statement

I have always been connected to the invisible and visible aspects of human drama, the particular and the universal. Although my paintings and sculptures are my own work, they are not intended to be about me. The subject matter is greater than me as an individual. My studio is like a lab, where space, form and meaning intertwine, shaping and filling my artworks.

I have been exploring the Japanese concept “Ma” (間), a concept embedded in our relationship with our space, internal and external, and how we relate one to another one; as well as the interpretation of time and space, pauses and silences, and the emptiness in a space, full of possibilities. This concept MA is the skeleton of my works, where my art starts. These sculptures, mixed media and paintings emerge from a thought, an infinite path with no endpoint, where resolution is impossible. Hope in the light of loss and displacement is my primary subject. The works are fragments of what has been lost, negated, and postponed. Their structures are a form of reparation, a healing tool, tying together absences and presences, sometimes in a meditative form.

In some of my sculptures, I incorporate resin, because of its reflective or opaque property, but I transform it, leaving my own fingerprints, and colors are mainly a tool that reveals presence. In certain works, the observer can see the ghostly effect generated by the reflection created by the mixed media illustrating the transient and mercurial nature of reality. Upon seeing my art, many find that the colors draw their attention before anything else. The story behind these colors is born in the interplay between these colors, but it is not color itself that matters most to me. Rather, the color is secondary, the whole composition makes the work… Colors and shapes are not separated elements, both are an essential symbiosis. When I make an artwork that contains individual pieces, it is always thinking that each piece must belong to the next artwork, creating a work, where all the pieces share the same space; the togetherness is what makes the work.

My work has been evolving and changing every year, incorporating new media and materials. Sculpture and mixed media has helped me to grow, and it gives me the chance to explore pieces rooted in the human condition, past and present social and historic events. In the WWII pieces, for example, the research in getting the letters from WWII has been a long road, it almost took me two years until I started to work.

The base of my art is bringing presence through absence. There are different types of absences: not only physical absence, but also the lack of the fabric that could make us better human beings. All these have created the need to incorporate other elements, according to the sensibility of each piece, like the use of wood, fabric, metal, yarn and paper, besides oil, silicone, etc. I enjoy immensely the closeness with my materials, that intimacy…the tactile and physical connection, too, aids to create a deep connection with space, form and meaning, leaving all decorative items aside, and helps me to concentrate more in exploration, questioning and contemplation. I see the reflections, materials and surfaces as healing presences, making the invisible visible.

Ana Rendich was born in Argentina and lives and works in Spotsylvania, Viriginia. She attended Instituto Superior de Arte del Teatro Colon, University del Salvador, Buenos Aires, Argentina, and the National Academy of Design, New York, New York.

Holly Wong

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Artist’s Statement

I create installations, assemblages and works on paper that summon protection and celebrate female energy. Using materials such as colored pencil, drafting film, paint, and candle smoke, I strive to reconnect in myself what has been fragmented. Much of my work is constructed with ephemeral materials that are both strong and fragile simultaneously. Working often within the context of memory and impermanence, I gather images and patterns. I often name my pieces after Goddesses because my work once completed becomes a form of drawing down eternal energy and life force. I am calling upon those forces of protection through the practice of making artwork. Art is my form of magical practice which reveals the sacred in myself.
Holly Wong lives in San Francisco, California. She was educated at the San Francisco Art Institute where she earned a Master of Fine Arts with a concentration in New Genres. Holly creates installations, assemblages and works on paper. She has been awarded visual arts grants from the Integrity: Arts and Culture Association, Barbara Deming Memorial fund, the George Sugarman Foundation, the Puffin Foundation, and a Gerbode Foundation purchase award. She has had over 70 group exhibitions and 10 solo exhibitions. She is represented by SLATE Contemporary Gallery in Oakland, California, and is a member of A.I.R. Gallery in Brooklyn, New York.

Joan Tanner

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Artist’s Statement

I am interested in encounters suggesting the fragile necessity of linkage inherent to art making.

Relishing in connections as well as contradictions generated by revising order where conflict becomes compelling, and solutions are deferred.

My work began in painting which I pursued until the early 90s. Then a significant change evolved from an intentional pursuit to take things apart and rebuild noting what needed another identity.

This shift began to disperse my attention to investigating sequence as an inevitable discourse of disruption and misdirection. Displacement being a persistent offering.

Born in 1935 in Indianapolis, Joan Tanner has lived in Southern California since the mid-1960s. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison in 1957 and began her career as a painter. She has been consistently exhibiting her paintings, drawings, photographs, sculpture and site-specific installations since 1968. Tanner maintains a vigorous studio practice somewhat akin to a laboratory and is inspired by spatial contradictions, archetypal geometric forms and raw materials. Her work is held in numerous private and corporate collections and in the following public collections: The Getty Center for the History of Art and the Humanities, Special Collections; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts; Harvard University, Houghton Library, Department of Printing and Graphics, Cambridge, Massachusetts; New York Public Library, Spencer Collection, New York City, NY; Speed Art Museum, Louisville, Kentucky; and Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, California. Over the years, Tanner has been a visiting lecturer at the University of California–Santa Barbara, Ohio University in Athens, Illinois State University at Normal, and an artist-in-residence at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Judith Henry

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Artist’s Statement

During my art career I have used various multi-media techniques to both explore and hide identity. I examine the friction between the interior life and public self. To stress anonymity, I have often used masks in my work. In this issue of Posit I am showing work from two series done recently. Beauty Masks is a book consisting of self-portraits made by covering my face with “found” faces. There are 120 self-portraits in this book. I juxtapose images of model’s faces ripped from fashion magazines over my own face as a mask. The images I have chosen to disguise myself are diverse in their race, hairdo, accessories and dress. There’s a stark contrast between the retouched and made-up faces and my actual hands and body — a reminder of the commodification of idealized beauty and a reflection of the fear of death. The second series, Casting Call, is a collection of almost 300 miniature sculptures made of detritus found in my studio, on the streets and in my kitchen. I utilized adhesive tape, push pins, paint tubes, sponges, cotton balls, swabs, nails, clips, screws, anything and everything I was able to glean. These recombinant icons emerged as an installation at BravinLee Projects in 2018.They extend my exploration of personal identify by creating humanoid surrogate identities that stand in for my hidden persona(s). The diversity of forms reflect the huge disparity found in any crowd. Having pursued a detached, perhaps secretive, or voyeuristic observation of people throughout my career, I believe that my work has evolved into a unique and revelatory depiction of human nature in all its diversion and mass commonality.
Judith Henry is a multi-media artist, born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. After receiving a BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, she moved to New York and started making art that explored the misalignments between cultural representation and inner psychology. She utilizes drawing, photography, typography, video, painting, sculpture, and bookmaking. Henry has shown her art in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Cleveland, Philadelphia and internationally in Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Istanbul, London and Switzerland. Her most recent solo shows were at BravinLee programs, New York, 2015 and 2018, Visual Arts Center of New Jersey, 2016 and The National Arts Club, New York, 2017.

Robin Croft

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Artist’s Statement

Nothing can be taken for granted. Constant change proves to be the only reliable point of reference. Equilibrium being as fleeting as life itself, one fuses an array of thought fragments retrieved from memories into a drawing of graphite, metal or wood. By doing so, the artist builds a fragile mental world of metaphor that lends meaning to his largely unnoticed visit among the general population.

Among the works shown here, A Taunt Done, eh? is an homage to Duchamp’s “Étant donnés,” which extracts the perspective aspect of his barn door, wall and the distant waterfall, then reverts them to an actual outdoor setting. (The wattle enclosure with window was constructed about 100 yds from the dam’s spillway). Perpetual Notion Machine (aka Sisyphus machine) is from a “Railcar/dolly” series of metaphorical self-portraits embodied by abandoned wheeled vehicles featuring absurd routines, introspective dead ends, malfunctioning equipment and failed objectives: A ball bearing sitting in a receptacle beckons the viewer to insert it in the upper hole, and the unseen ball makes a loud clanging that resembles an idling steam engine as it traverses a staccato path to the lower cup. Perpetual Notion Machine tacitly invites the viewer to attempt to operate manual controls, hit the kill switch, read the solar-powered temperature gauge’s gibberish, and blow or poke a ball bearing (the dilating eye) from one side to the other.

Robin Croft “draws” ephemeral, outdoor sculptures using naturally occurring deadfall, driftwood and stone. His metaphorical images reflect a love of draftsmanship that incorporates autobiographical and formal references. In a sense, the work parallels naïve art by avoiding prevailing trends and building upon rugged drawing guided by intuition. In the studio or outdoors, his forms address tragicomedy, decay, abandonment and homage. Croft’s production of conceptual metal sculptures grew until they filled his home and studio. Lack of storage space prompted making impromptu “drawings-in-the-wild,” essentially translating studio ideas to park, wilderness, river, beach or urban settings.

Donté K. Hayes

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Artist’s Statement

My research and artwork are focused on the pineapple as a symbol which represents welcoming and hospitality, while also examining issues of access to food, empire, and what constitutes the feeling and or act of being welcomed. Through this research, I have discovered that the tradition of the pineapple as a symbol for hospitality is rooted in slavery and agricultural colonization of South America, the Caribbean, and the Southern United States, in particular, South Carolina and my home state of Georgia. When a new slave ship bringing enslaved Africans docked at the port, the foremen would place a pineapple at the front of the dock to notify a new shipment of enslaved Africans has arrived. This creating the pineapple as a symbol for welcoming. The investigation in the concept of welcoming is also from personal struggles as a black man navigating public spaces and environments and not feeling like I belonged or welcomed. From this research my art practice pulls from my interest in hip-hop culture, history, and science fiction. The artwork references the visual traditions from the Southern United States, Carribbean, South America, and the African continent.

I utilize clay as a historical and creative base material to inform memories of the past. The handling of clay reveals the process and shares the markings of its maker. Ceramics becomes a bridge to conceptually integrate disparate objects and or images for the purpose of creating new understandings and connections with the material, history, and social-political issues. I compare the construction and deconstruction of materials to the remix in rap music and how human beings adapt to different environments and reinvent new identities. These ceramic objects are vessels, each making symbolic allusions to the black body.

The artworks suggest the past, discuss the present, and explores possible futures interconnected to the African Diaspora. While also examining deeper social issues that broaden the conversation between all of humanity.

Donté K. Hayes graduated summa cum laude from Kennesaw State University at Kennesaw, Georgia with a BFA in Ceramics and Printmaking with an Art History minor. Hayes received his MA and MFA with honors from the University of Iowa and is the 2017 recipient of the University of Iowa Arts Fellowship. Donté, is a 2019 Ceramics Monthly Magazine Emerging Artists and Artaxis Fellow. Donté is the 2019 winner of the 1858 Prize for Contemporary Southern Art from the Gibbes Museum of Art in Charleston, South Carolina.

Jeanne Jaffe


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Artist’s Statement
Inspired by an interest in anthropology, mythology, and psychology, my work explores how identity is forged from early pre-verbal experience through the later influences of language and culture.

In my earlier sculpture, I give concrete form to intangible sensations and barely remembered bodily experiences. This is accomplished by creating hybrid forms of mixed origins of experience – fusions of animate and inanimate worlds, simultaneously familiar yet strange. Body fragments, vegetative processes, and microscopic life fuse, mutate, and morph, and the resulting objects invite recognition while remaining mutable, suggestive, and indeterminate. Visceral experiences of longing, repulsion, fear, loss, curiosity, and discovery are elicited.

In my more recent installations such as “Little Red Riding Hood as a Crime Scene,” “Elegy for Tesla,” and “T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets,” popular folktales, history, and literature are reimagined through a contemporary lens and made into multi-sensory environments. In these installations, sculpture, videos, interactive elements, and animation create a space for exploring the implications of these known narratives and for reimagining new perspectives.

Most recently I am working on a stop motion animation, “Alice in Dystopia,” a retelling of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland. In this version, Alice and the Rabbit fall down the wrong rabbit hole into the contemporary world of 2020, with all of its environmental and societal ills, where the characters must find a way to confront the current crises and offer hope for renewal and change.

In all of my work different signifying systems of image, motion, language, and sound intertwine, highlighting and allowing us to reexamine different aspects of our internal and external experiences, the stories we have been told, and the assumptions we have internalized.

How we navigate multi layered experience, where signification and understanding is being endlessly reshaped, and how we create meaning and self-determination from the cacophony of sensation, memory, myth, and cultural history is the subject of all my work.

Jeanne Jaffe is a multi-disciplinary artist and a frequent visiting artist at Xian Academy of Fine Arts in China who lives in Florida with her husband and parrot Lilly. She is the recipient of grants from the Gottlieb Foundation, Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, NEA, Virginia Groot Foundation, and Mid Atlantic/NEA, among others. Her work has been exhibited at the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Art Museum, Delaware Art Museum, Michener Art Museum, Royal Scottish Academy of Edinburgh, Seokdang Museum of Art in Korea, and elsewhere. Reviews of her work have appeared in Art in America, The New York Times, and Sculpture Magazine.

Hiroyuki Hamada

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Artist’s Statement

Artists are blessed with that rare moment when everything disappears in our studios except for our works and ourselves — when we feel the profound connection to what we have worked on as it melts with the world, space and time. Such an occasion is indeed very rare but that is what I strive to capture when I struggle in my studio. As our world continues to be subservient to the hierarchy of money and violence, I believe the exploration of artists to perceive the world reaching beyond the framework of corporatism, colonialism and militarism continues to be a crucial part of being human.

Hiroyuki Hamada (b. 1968, Tokyo) has exhibited throughout the United States and in Europe. He has been awarded various residencies including those at the Provincetown Fine Arts Work Center, the Edward F. Albee Foundation/William Flanagan Memorial Creative Person’s Center, the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and the MacDowell Colony. Hamada’s work has been featured in various publications, including Stokstad and Cothren’s widely used art history text book Art: A Brief History (Pearseon). In 1998 he was the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant; he is a two time recipient of New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships (2009 and 2017), and was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2018. Hamada lives and works in East Hampton, New York.