Millicent Young

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Artist’s Statement

Art and Earth define us as human beings. The rupture of connection with either renders us senseless and therefore only brutal. The language of art is sensual. It can stir the heart. It can bypass rational, linear processes. Art can be a transformer. The idea that imagination begets empathy and is awakened by the senses has shaped all that I have attempted as a citizen artist.

Through my work, I am interested in building a vocabulary that will one day tell a new story: a new mythology that restores mystery, beauty, silence, and imagination as central to our co-existence. My visual language favors archetype and allusion. Like dreams, it is a code simultaneously familiar, layered, and elusive. The Koan, a Buddhist teaching tool that takes the form of a paradoxical question, is another model for my work. Insight follows contemplation and the willingness to lose what one knows.

The materials I use are both substance and symbol. As substance they are ordinary, simple, and sometimes found yet within them, there is beauty. As symbols, they do not comfortably stand for one thing. On the scent of something large, they dodge the straight line of equation. The exacting repetitive gestures associated with the crafting of much of my work make the process a meditation; however, the parallel thought flow, or its absence, that accompanies these gestures also infuses the work.

The record of time is evident though silent in my work. Slowly taking form through accretion, thousands of horsehairs are individually threaded through hundreds of holes drilled in vines or tiny dowels. In the White Luminous Room, each of the 1500 ten foot long strands are made by tying and gluing tiny bundles of hair to a long thread. The liquidity of plaster is recorded in its hard celestial surface. The flow of ink is remembered by the contraction of the washi paper in the drying. Every ring of ink on each of the 80 hammered lead pans is a record of the evaporation of that single pool — concentrated, diluted, rinsed, repeated — until the right mark is made.

The Anthropocene is now — the first epoch defined by the impact of one species — ours — on the planet and all the systems that have spawned and supported what we have named “life.” The Cantos are my witness and meditations on now.

Millicent Young was born in New York City in 1958 and attended Dalton School. Shortly after receiving her MFA from James Madison University, she received her first of two Professional Fellowship Awards from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Exhibiting widely, her work has been recognized by curators and directors from institutions including DIA, New Museum, and Whitney Museum. Young’s work received a top award at the 2005 Biennale in Florence, Italy. Her upcoming solo at Les Yeux du Monde in Virginia is Cantos for the Anthropocene. She resides in the Hudson Valley of New York.

Sarah Stengle & Eva Mantell

from Pages from the Frozen Sea

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Artists’ Statement

The “pages” in Pages from the Frozen Sea are photographs of ordinary objects or materials suspended in ice, or artworks made by working with ice. This collaborative project is a celebration of the beauty and constantly changing nature of ice, and embraces an experimental, process-oriented approach to art-making. The project was inspired by a quote from Franz Kafka: “A book must be an axe for the frozen sea within us.” The images selected were done during the winter of 2017. The project will continue during the winter of 2018: it requires cold weather. This year Sarah Stengle and Eva Mantel hope to extend the scope of the project by inviting other artists to also contribute pages. The project can be followed on Facebook and Instagram.

Sarah Stengle lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota, and is a book artist and sculptor. She is represented by Central Booking Gallery in New York City, and her work is included in many collections including the Chicago Art Institute, the Fogg Museum at Harvard, the Brooklyn Museum of Art and Morgan Library. She is interested in inter-disciplinary art and has collaborated with mathematicians and writers on art projects. Her most recently completed collaboration was with author Michael Joseph and was featured at VISPO: Visual Poetry, a traveling exhibit that originated in Aachen Germany, September, 2016 and concluded in Bergau, Germany in May, 2017.
Eva Mantell lives in Princeton, NJ and has exhibited her sculpture, painting and video at the Monmouth Museum, the Hunterdon Museum, the Bernstein Gallery at Princeton University, the Abington Art Center, the Jersey City Museum and the Brooklyn Museum of Art. She has a BA from Penn and an MFA from the School of Visual Arts in NYC. She curates, teaches and speaks about art including the recent Art as Activism, at the exhibit Fight or Flight at The Painting Center, NYC. She has a special interest in arts engagement and community outreach and her teaching has been included in Designing and Delivering Arts Programs for Older Adult Learners, published by the National Center for Creative Aging in Washington, DC.

Brece Honeycutt

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Artist’s Statement

My studio is both outside & inside. As I walk outward to soak in the place, to trod the fields and forests, my pockets fill with the landscape’s treasures — birch bark with its dots and dashes, unfurling hornet’s nests, fallen flowers & leaves, cast off feathers; at the same time, my mind undertakes the cataloguing of the daily changes — freshly sprouted spring ephemerals, the autumn return of the junco, the mint filled with feasting honeybees. Later, these findings and sitings become marks on both paper and cloth and imbue the interior with the spirit of the exterior. The acts of dyeing and stitching bring me back to the glimpsed lichen on the tree, the lines on the birch bark, the frozen ice on the pond and the sounds of the birds in the trees.

“Our eyes see what is outside in the landscape in the form of words on paper but inside, a slash or mark wells up from a deeper place where music before counting hails from.” Susan Howe, Debths (New Directions, 2017)

Brece Honeycutt makes nature-based and history-based drawings, sculptures and installations. Her installations have been placed in university campuses, historic houses, inner-city parks, office buildings, libraries, urban markets and galleries. She collaborates with artists, students, historians, gardeners, poets, and dancers. She documents living “on a colonial farm” in her blog, often contrasting the contemporary with the colonial. Honeycutt holds a B.A. in Art History from Skidmore College and an M.F.A. in Sculpture from Columbia University. In 2017, she had a solo exhibition, bewilder at Norte Maar (Brooklyn, NY), accompanied by a catalogue with an essay by the art historian Anne Swartz. She exhibits in galleries and museums both nationally and internationally, and her work resides in museums and household collections.

Karen Hampton

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Artist’s Statement

I am a conceptual mixed media artist, addressing issues of colorism and race. I seek to break stereotypes and address issues related to my life. My artwork is steeped in oral history and is an expression of the narrative. As a storyteller, I impart conceptualized stories about the “other” in society. I view myself as a vehicle for ancestral stories to transcend history and remain part of the historical record. The canvas of my artwork is fabric which I age and imbue with conceptualized images of a forgotten part of the American story. Using images and text, I embed the cloth with the hopes and visions of my ancestors, particularly those whose stories have remained invisible. Whether woven or stitched, every time my weft crosses the warp or my needle pierces the cloth, it reaches through another layer of scorched earth that slavery has left behind. In this way I attempt to reframe critical issues of race.

Karen Hampton (born January 28, 1958, in Los Angeles, California) is an African American conceptual mixed-media artist addressing issues related to race. She was awarded a Master of Fine Arts degree in 2000 from the University of California, Davis. In 2008, she received the Fleishhacker Foundation’s Eureka Award. Her artwork is exhibited internationally and is in the collection of the Ruth and Elmer Wellin Museum and the Honolulu Museum of Art. Currently, she holds the position of Designer in Residence at Michigan State University in Critical Race Issues.

Lou Beach

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I always begin a picture with the intention of creating something poetic, but invariably end up with a cartoon.
He became. He ate. He shat. He made stuff. He slept. He died.

Umar Rashid (Frohawk Two Feathers)

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Artist’s Statement

My name is Umar Rashid. Not too long ago I made art under the alias Frohawk Two Feathers. I create historical fiction (rooted in actual historical fact, if there truly is such a phenomenon) dealing mainly with issues of colonialism, identity, race, gender, and politics. The “Frenglish Empire” (A merger of the colonial era empires of France and England) is the vehicle for my tale. My work has taken me all over the globe, to lowly hovels and great halls. I’ve been working in an episodic fashion for the past 12 years, parceling out the day-to-day of the empire in short, concise bursts, in order to keep the material fresh. I also do a bit of culture clash and time travel within the work, in an effort to engage a broader base. Hip hop, fashion, the streets, and gang culture factor heavily in my oeuvre. And as a self-taught artist, I borrow greatly from varying methods of art-making, from Native American ledger drawings to Romantic era paintings, African and Caribbean folk art, fetishes, and map-making. My current focus is the Western United States, stretching down through all of the vice-royalties of the colonial Spanish Empire (roughly Mexico to the Tierra del Fuego). I diverge from my narrative from time to time only to create content, and context to support it. I will never run out of material within my lifetime.

Umar Rashid was born in 1976 in Chicago, Illinois, and currently lives and works in Los Angeles, California. He earned his BA at Southern Illinois University in 2000. He has had recent solo exhibitions at the Hudson River Museum (Yonkers, NY), the Wellin Museum of Art (Clinton, NY), the Visual Arts Center of New Jersey (Summit, NJ), the Nevada Museum of Art (Reno, NV), and the Museum of Contemporary Art (Denver, CO). In Fall 2014, Rashid exhibited as a MATRIX artist at the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art in Hartford, CT. Recent group shows include exhibitions at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art (Santa Barbara, CA), the Burlington City Arts (Burlington, VT), and Guerrero Gallery (San Francisco, CA). His work is in the collections of the Brooklyn Museum, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, the Progressive Collection, 21C Museum, the Nevada Museum of Art, and the Wellin Museum of Art, among others. Major publications that have reviewed his work include Art in America, The New Yorker, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times.

Lina Puerta

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Artist’s Statement

My work examines the relationship between nature and the body. Utilizing a wide variety of materials — concrete, clay, resin, wood, foam, fabric, artificial plants, paper pulp and handmade paper; craft and recycled items, I create textural forms and compositions that blend the human-made world with the natural, exploring notions of control, consumerism and life’s fragility. My artistic process is in great part guided by the physical qualities of the materials, their textures, forms and colors; and informed by concepts of femininity, fashion, sexuality and artificiality.

Lina Puerta (1969), born in NJ and raised in Colombia, holds an MS in Art Education from Queens College/CUNY and is recipient of several residencies and grants including: the 2017 NYFA Fellowship in Crafts and Sculpture; 2017 Joan Mitchell foundation Artist Residency, New Orleans, LA; 2017, 21C Museum Hotels and Southern Foodways Alliance Artist in Residence, Oxford, MS; 2016 Dieu Donné Workspace Residency (NYC), 2015 Joan Mitchell Painters and Sculptors Grant, 2015 Kohler Arts Industry Residency, Sheboygan,WI; 2014-15 Keyholder Residency at the Lower East Side Printshop, 2013-14 Smack Mellon Art Studio Program, 2014 Materials for the Arts, 2013 Wave Hill Winter Workspace and the 2010 Emerging Artist Fellowship at Socrates Sculpture Park in New York City. Exhibition venues include: The Museum of Biblical Art, El Museo del Barrio, Socrates Sculpture Park, Wave Hill, and Geary Contemporary in NYC. Puerta’s work has been written about in Hyperallergic, The New York Times, Wilder Quarterly, Sculpture Magazine and Artnet News, among others.

Francis Pavy

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Artist’s Statement

My work stems from the southern narrative storytelling tradition. Common subjects for me are the folk-life and folklore of the local people juxtaposed against the fabric of everyday American life. I am particularly interested in music, musicians and the musical traditions of Louisiana and the South.I strive to capture, reflect and inspire the universal by touching the immediate. A broad spectrum of people identify with my work because they can relate to the sublime, ordinary, mundane and iconic imagery I create. By touching the local or accessible experience they are able to touch the universal.

A lifelong resident of Louisiana, Francis X Pavy was born in Lafayette on March 2, 1954. He graduated in 1976 with a fine arts degree in sculpture from The University of Southwestern Louisiana. In 1977, Pavy started working in a glass shop, making leaded and beveled glass windows. He opened his own glass studio in 1982. In 1985, he adopted painting as his primary medium, but he continues to work in many other media as well, including prints, constructions, sculpture, glass, video, and installation.

Brandon Graving

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Artist’s Statement

My work has a natural immediacy, like a snapshot, capturing the chemical reaction of liquid inks as they are pushed into paper with a press, or sculptures that move with ambient air currents around them, interacting with the viewer.

I am interested in new realms within the field of unique prints via innovative technique and scale. The deeply embossed prints begin with an elaborately textured matrix consisting of natural forms, including aerial views of landscapes. I love the sensitivity of a wet piece of paper which perfectly records the wild and varied objects and inks, allowing saturation deep into it — or thick, reticulated ink poised on its surface, translating the moment the chemistry is caught and transfixed into this sculptural monoprint. The visceral quality of large scale prints offers a highly textured physicality only possible with the specialized equipment we have built for this purpose.

After years of bronze casting, my interest in paper has turned to casting trees with paper. Using crepe myrtle trees felled during hurricane Katrina, I form the spines of these sculptures with archival abaca paper over the trunks and branches, with the help of a structural steel armature. Comprising a series called Wonder, these sculptures are finished with individually torn translucent vellum tendrils. Some have drops of crystal at their extremities, which hold points of light, and defy gravity, like beads of water traveling along strawberry leaves. While these appear fragile, the abaca paper is incredibly durable, adding to the work’s conceptual information. With close inspection, the surface reveals the individual placement of fingertip-like pieces of abaca, forming a complex, textured surface. The kinetic aspect of these works allows them to exist in space, as we do. Animated by the viewer’s ambient air movements, they become directly involved with their audience, while producing a dance of shadows.

My work attempts to elicit an experience rather than recording or depicting an object or place; ideally, communicating aspects of being human, as I continue to grapple with that complexity.

Brandon Graving is a sculptor and printmaker, best know for her large-scale monoprint/sculpture installations. Graving’s 10.5 foot by 32 foot Ephemera: River with Flowers is the largest monoprint ever made by a single artist, and was on view at the New Orleans Museum of Art when the city was hit by Hurricane Katrina. Purchased by the Frederick R. Weismann Collection, this work has recently been exhibited in more than a dozen museums nationally. Graving’s work is in numerous private and public collections including the New Orleans Museum of Art. Her many grants and awards include the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award. A few years ago, she consolidated her print studios to found Gravity Press Experimental Print Shop, and has been working for the past four years on woodcut prints with S. Hannock and Sting which will open at the Metropolitan Museum in January, 2018.

Jodi Colella

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Artist’s Statement

Using soft materials and found objects, I create tactile objects and installations about human relationship. I redefine needle art techniques and transform the everyday into works of contemporary relevance. There is a presence of the maker in the shape of thousands of stitches, hand-wrought forms and, as in my collaborations, the orchestrated actions of many. Influenced by my travels, I draw from historical and cultural experiences around me that extend from my neighborhood to time spent in the Far East. Impressions from a residency in Shenzhen China, where citizens are experiencing radical social changes, resulted in works about the universal and confusing contradictions of identity and place. A fellowship in Thailand found me sharing a mudhouse with scorpions, centipedes, and more. These strange bedfellows feared me as much as I did them, yet over time a mutual respect developed as we each accepted the other – with the realization that neither my multiple-legged roommates nor myself are alone but part of a larger whole.

The exhibit Unidentifed Woman engages with the collections at Historic Northampton and the forces that have shaped women’s identities since the 18th century, by fusing personal experiences and ideologies into sculptures that contribute to the progress of both art and feminism. For this project, I strove to create headwear that infers an inner vitality and self awareness on the wearer – thereby redressing fashion’s oppression.

Headwear has long played a role in indicating the class, status and occupation of the wearer – enforcing conformity and erasing individuality. From the 18th century poke bonnet which restricted women’s field of vision, to today’s hijab, women in particular have been subjugated to fashion dictates and social norms. These headwear sculptures offer a vehicle for a subversive coded language which addresses the play between women’s visibility and invisibility.

Struck by the poignant anonymity of the museum’s daguerreotypes, I scoured flea markets for similar images which I then altered with raw and idiosyncratic stitches that call attention to the Unidentified Woman whose name is long forgotten. This obsolete photographic process aligns with today’s social media; both are means that allow people to alter their public identity through the curation of carefully chosen images. In this way I stitch together past and present identity politics to provide an alternative chronology where expression replaces suppression and sewing equals activism.

Jodi Colella works with a broad range of materials to create provocative, tactile works that often include public participation. She has exhibited at Danforth Art Museum; Fruitlands Museum; Wheaton College; Helen Day Art Center; World of Threads Toronto and Textile Museum Washington D.C., among others. She has received numerous awards including the 2016 Fay Chandler Emerging Artist, 2016 Fellowship ComPeung Thailand, Pollack-Krasner Fellowship Vermont Studio Center, and Somerville Arts Council Fellowships 2015, 2012. Jodi has taught nationally at Eliot School Boston, Society for Craft in Pittsburgh, SDA’s Confluence in Minneapolis plus many local venues. She lives and works in Somerville, Massachusetts and most days can be found lost in her studio.