Hirosuke Yabe

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Artist’s Statement

I make wooden sculptures that look like animal anthropomorphic creatures, sometimes monsters too. Actually I think that these are all humans. (A metaphor of the human condition.) “What is it to be human?” “What is the human being?” I am interested in these questions. I am also interested in the question of what is it to be Japanese. Sometimes humans are animals and monsters. Human beings have various aspects.

I sometimes imagine that my work looks silly, funny and the characters are foolish but also cute, lovely and sweet. Also sometimes they are expressionless and we can’t tell from their expression what they are thinking. In a sense possibly they are like the Japanese character… perhaps.

I have been making a series of works called Faithful Dog Man. Actually, when I make this work I imagine a “faithful person character” in my mind. Who is the Faithful Dog Man faithful to? What is the Faithful Dog Man faithful to? What country is the Faithful Dog Man faithful to? I sometimes put messages and humor in my work, like this. However I am not interested in directly telling people only an ironic message. Because I would like my work “people and creatures” to be loved by other people and me. I would like my characters to be loved by people, and my characters to feel close to people and me. Because they are always looking for a new owner.

Hirosuke Yabe was born 1972 in Kanagawa, Japan and received his B.F.A. in Sculpture from Zoukei University of Art in Tokyo in 2002. His work has been exhibited in group and solo shows at Cindy Rucker Gallery in New York (2018) and t-gallery in Tokyo (2016).

Beth Lo

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Artist’s Statement

My work in ceramics and mixed media collage revolves primarily around issues of family and my Asian-American background. Cultural marginality and blending, tradition vs. Westernization, language and translation are key elements in my work. Since the birth of my son in 1987, I have been drawing inspiration from major events in my family’s history, the day-to-day challenges of parenting, and my own childhood memories of being raised in a minority culture in the United States. I use the image of a child as a symbol of innocence, potential and vulnerability.

Beth Lo makes work in ceramics and mixed media about family, culture and language. Her Good Children vessels and sculptures have been exhibited internationally and she has been the recipient of a United States Artist Fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship, Montana Arts Council Individual Artist Grant and an American Craft Museum Design Award. She is also a children’s book illustrator and professional bass player. She retired after 30 years of teaching ceramics at the University of Montana in 2016.

Miriam Hitchcock

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Artist’s Statement

Making art is a function of living, a material practice that allows me to examine the ordinary and illuminate the familiar. My creative attitude and working process are largely informed by the inherent displacement and fragmentation characteristic of contemporary life and the landscape we now inhabit, against a diminishing wilderness. Allusions to aftermath and anachronism reflect my fascination with the experience of time. Finding that text and sound are potent collaborators, I now make short time-based media projects alongside painting, which constitutes the core of my studio practice.

Miriam Hitchcock lives and works in Santa Cruz, California. Born in San Francisco, she grew up in a nature loving family on the peninsula, attended University of California at Santa Cruz and went on to complete an MFA in Painting from Yale University. Miriam has taught Painting, Drawing and Design at Brown University, Rhode Island School of Design and Cornell University. Returning to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1990, she instructed studio Art courses at Stanford University, San Jose State University, and continuously from 1992 to 2012, the University of California at Santa Cruz. Miriam has led studio intensive courses in Rome, Italy through the Cornell University Dept. of Art and Architecture and The American University in Rome as well as University of California at Santa Cruz. She began incorporating animation and time-based media into her life-long painting practice in 2012, and received an award for Best Experimental Film in the 2018 Annual Copenhagen Film Festival, Denmark.

Judith Henry

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Artist’s Statement

For almost 50 years I have created conceptual multimedia artworks exploring the friction between our interior lives and public selves. I have secretly observed, listened to, photographed, filmed and recorded strangers in public places while remaining largely invisible. When using myself as subject, I have appeared masked or hidden, as in several recent series.

After graduating Carnegie Mellon, I moved to New York from the suburbs of Cleveland and found myself in a densely populated metropolis. For me, each person was a matchless original as well as a stereotype. In 1970, with a small, cheap camera, I began surreptitiously photographing people on the streets, often listening to their conversations. In an attempt to tease out patterns of human experience, I aggregated thousands of photographs.

For years, I repurposed my street photographs in many forms: books, videos, photographs, installations and sculptures, and even created Who I Saw in New York from 1970-2000, a book and gallery installation consisting of photographs of thousands of people.

When I moved from SoHo to Williamsburg, Brooklyn in 2008, I became dependent on the L train to visit Manhattan. This made it easy to go to galleries, museums, visit friends, see doctors, etc. I now found myself in close quarters with a vast and, for me, new, population. As a pastime, I began photographing other passengers with my iPhone. At the same time, I continued my art in the studio by developing several series of myself behind masks.

In 2017, it was announced that the L train would be closed for 18 months for repairs. What would this mean? How would my life be affected? Would my work practice change? It would not, but the focus, the idea would have a different urgency. I decided to start a new project, painting portraits of the passengers I had photographed. With free, quick, gestural strokes and a palette of both muted and intense colors, I tried to bring life to the gray underground. The speed of my painting reflected, for me, the crowded, ever-moving population of passengers; hurried, contemplative, sometimes angry, occasionally musical and lyrical. Almost half a million of us would be dislocated or stranded every day.

Underground became integrated with above ground. Everywhere I walked, construction crossed my paths. I photographed my altered landscape. The images became backgrounds on which I mounted several of the portraits. This recombination created context which has always been crucial to my art practice. I called the series L Train Bye, Bye. But then, overnight, everything seemed about to change. The governor had somehow discovered a new technology at the last minute. No shutdown, he said. No fast track. But my work would stand with a new title, They Rode the L Train.

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 in the late 1960s and started making art that explored the friction between interior life and public persona, developing themes of self-disclosure, identity and loss. She utilizes drawing, photography, typography, video, painting and sculpture. Several of her works resulted in large installations. In addition to exhibiting internationally for decades, in 1976 Henry and artist Jaime Davidovich created Wooster Enterprises, whose conceptual paper products were sold internationally. Her conceptual Crumpled Paper Stationery was produced and sold by The Museum of Modern Art for years. MoMA also commissioned her to produce Overheard on the Way to MoMAQNS when they closed the 53rd Street museum for renovation and temporarily moved to Queens. Judith Henry’s Overheard book series was published by Universe/Rizzoli from 2000 to 2002 and in 2006 Atria Books published her Overheard in America. Henry has shown 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 2017.

Eozen Agopian

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Artist’s Statement

In my artwork I create visual parallels between rational and cosmological worlds through constructing and deconstructing, layering and erasing, scraping and marking, unraveling and reconnecting. I incorporate techniques of drawing, painting, sewing and weaving. I started using thread in my work more than twenty years ago. I liked the practical properties of the material, thread’s use to put things together, to mantle, to unify. Threads also soothed my desire for fluidity: I could manipulate them to create mass, sculptural forms, to penetrate the canvas or just leave them loose. I would sew different layers of colored yarns to create chromatic filters where underneath you could see shimmering shapes.

Eozen Agopian was born in Athens, Greece. She received her MFA in Painting from Pratt Institute (1993) and her BFA from Hunter College (1989). Her first solo show was at Michael Wall Gallery (N.Y. 1993). Since then her work is shown in several solo, three person and group exhibitions in Greece, France, Italy, Germany, China, Russia and the United States, such as, Shiva Gallery of the John Jay College (New York), Fox Gallery NYC (New York), Lesley Heller gallery (New York), Hellenic American Union (Athens), AAW Gallery, (Beijing), Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete (Greece), State Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessalonica, (Greece),Smack Melon (New York) In 2014 she was a resident artist at the Triangle Arts Foundation in Brooklyn. The last years she lives and works both in New York and Athens. Currently she has a solo exhibit at the Consulate General of Greece in New York. Her next solo show will take place at Eleftheria Tseliou Gallery (Athens, Greece) in the Spring of 2019.

Etty Yaniv

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Artist’s Statement

How we form narratives out of patterns that recur daily and how we process diurnal time in relation to memory and place have preoccupied me since early on. In my artwork I imagine multiple ways in which narratives may form out of fragmented knowledge by constructing and deconstructing pieces of repetitive documentation.

In a process–oriented approach I use a wide range of materials from my studio and from every-day life — such as found objects, drawings, paintings, and photographs which depict autobiographical fragments from my environment. Together, these disjointed pieces form a holistic image, widely varied in scale — from small scale collage paintings to monumental immersive installations. In either format I aim to create hybrid mindscapes in which the viewer is placed somewhere between the real and the imagined, the organic and the artificial, landscape and topography.

While on the whole I frequently allude to the fragility of our Eco system and complexity in our civilization, the layered fragments are like coded messages or excavated memories which present new clues. Each layer documents a particular moment in time and only up close the viewer may discover the content underneath, invited to choose their own perspective.

Etty Yaniv was born in Tel Aviv, Israel and currently works on her art, art writing, and curatorial projects in Brooklyn. Her work includes drawings, collaged paintings and immersive dimensional installations which merge photography, drawing, and painting. Yaniv exhibited her work in solo and group shows at galleries and museums nationally and internationally, including The Haifa Museum of Art, Israel, State Silk Museum, Tbilisi, Georgia, Newark Museum of Art, NJ, Torrance Art Museum, CA, AIR gallery, Brooklyn, Long Island University, Brooklyn, and Leipziger Baumwollspinnerie, Leipzig Germany. She holds BA in Psychology and Literature from Tel Aviv University, BFA from Parsons School of Design, and MFA from SUNY Purchase. She has been writing for several NYC art blogs and recently she has initiated Art Spiel, her own fine art blog. In 2018 she was awarded the Two Trees subsidized studio space Program in Dumbo.

Buzz Spector

in modern America (2014)

important parts of religious experience (2014)

not even (2015)

the eternal mystery in pictures (2014)

the shadows’ touch . . . (2016)

Artist’s Statement

For the last five years I’ve been making text/image sequences of poetry employing found language on the dust jackets of hardcover books. I clip the last lines of blurbs to compose poetry. These last words, so to speak, are vestiges of writing which is itself deliberately ordinary in function. We are all too aware of the deception of buying a book after reading a blurb more engaging than the volume it’s wrapped around. I’m taking up the challenge of writing as collage from such meager shards, bringing variations of color, typography, and bits of images into the process.

Buzz Spector works in a wide range of mediums including sculpture, photography, printmaking, book arts, and installation. His art makes frequent use of the book, both as subject and object, and is concerned with relationships between public history, individual memory, and perception.

Joakim Ojanen

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Artist’s Statement

In Joakim Ojanen’s new body of work, he expands into more complex motifs and materials. Ojanen’s glazed ceramic, “Flower Eyes, Yin Yang Shirt, and Polka Dot Dress,” is a young woman in a yellow, bell-shaped, dress, who plaintively holds a vase containing a wilted thistle. Her eyes pop out of her head and morph into delicate flowers. Her dress, surrounded by flowers, features a cave-like hole, which reveals a pair of bare feet that straddle a small detached head. Ojanen has also created two large-scale bronze sculptures, multiple charcoal drawings, and several oil paintings, for the exhibition. In Ojanen’s bronze sculpture, “Bossy Bird Claimed My Nose in The Park,” a drunk and queasy park denizen awakens to find his extended Pinocchio/Giacometti nose has been taken over by a nesting bird.

Joakim Ojanen was Born in 1985, Västerås, Sweden in 1985 and lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden. He received his BA in 2012 from Konstfack University College of Arts,Crafts and Design, and his MFA in 2014 from Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design.

Melissa Meyer

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Artist’s Statement

Included in this portfolio of images are works that trace the history of my interest in and artworks using collage, as well as recent collages influenced by this trajectory. My work is abstract with many visual references including: the improvisational and emotional qualities of Jazz and dance; the sinuous gestures of an actor moving across the big screen; the tonal qualities of Film Noir; handwriting, urban graffiti and linear natural forms; the logic of architecture; and the colors in a landscape.

I am very aware of the importance of collage in forming contemporary aesthetics. As a method, collage encourages layering, shape-making and juxtaposition, all of which I apply to my work, from my paintings to multi-panel public works using expanded media. As a young woman artist, one of the important aspects of my research was to find role models and forerunners. I observed that many mid-20th century women abstract artists made collages, including Ann Ryan, Alma Thomas and Lee Krasner. This culminated in my essay written with Miriam Schapiro, “Femmage: Waste Not Want Not, An Inquiry into What Women Saved and Assembled,” published in Heresies’ fourth issue (1978). I discovered a collage sensibility was evident in quilts, devotional pieces and scrapbooks made primarily by women in the 18th century, far before Picasso and Braque. This collage sensibility, marked by recycling, mixed-media, making art from remainders and remembrances, is echoed in the mid-century abstractionists I connected with. A famous example is Krasner, who reused her works on paper in her collage works, both large and small.

In my own work, collage has played an important role in developing new ideas and reusing old ones, from “The Green Woman,” my early (1974) collage painting for Ms. Magazine, to my most recent work. Artist residencies have provided opportunities to connect older works like “The Green Woman” and “Provincetown Summer” to the newer collage “Rearrangement Series.” In my “Residency Sketchbooks,” from which I include specific pages, I cut up and combined watercolors in an improvisational manner, which directly inspired a group of works based entirely on cutting up and rearranging previous watercolors. Another influence in this series has been the late large collage works of Jean Dubuffet, about which I wrote an essay in 2016 for the popular Painters on Painting blog, and which I was able to revisit in an exhibition this past spring 2018.

Melissa Meyer lives and works in New York City. She is represented in New York by Lennon Weinberg, Inc. Her work has been exhibited widely nationally and internationally. Meyer’s development has been surveyed in two traveling exhibitions, and she has completed public commissions in New York, Tokyo, Shanghai, and for the new U.S. Embassy in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Her work is included in major public and private collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, MoMA, Brooklyn Museum, Guggenheim Museum, and Jewish Museums. Residencies and Awards include: Rome Prize, NEA grant, Pollock Krasner Grant, Yaddo, MacDowell, Bogliasco, and BAU Institute.

Camille Eskell

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Artist’s Statement

My current series, The Fez as Storyteller, is a group of mixed-media sculptures and works on paper that explores the social and psychological legacy of my Iraqi, Jewish and Indian multi-cultural history, and more broadly questions the attitudes, conventions, and indoctrination that religious and social systems perpetuate over generations. Steeped in memory, the work addresses gender bias, entrenched customs, control, and the emotional turbulence that formed this heritage to critique yet commemorate this tradition.

Resembling artifacts, these works are a culmination of my lifelong interests in art, history, clothing/fashion, and psychology. They combine and contrast material elements, cultural symbols and associations from Middle Eastern, South Asian and Sephardic traditions with reconfigured imagery of family and place, suggesting irony and contradiction. I use the fez cap (traditional Middle-Eastern headgear) as a structural base for the storytelling to reflect the foundation established by my forebears, who left Iraq for Bombay to become traders of the hats in their adopted land. The crafting of each piece is meticulous, time-consuming, and process-driven. It consists of designing the piece, composing the multi-layered images digitally (some up to 80 layers), procuring the various elements from resources such as consignment shops, thrift stores, fabric and accessory vendors, and devising the best techniques to combine them. Disassembling and re-working existing garments, accessories and decorative items, hand-sewing, beading, and intricate fastening are some of the methods used.

Award-winning artist Camille Eskell exhibits her work throughout the U.S. and abroad. Her work is in public and private collections, including the Chrysler Museum of Art/VA, The Hudson River Museum/NY and the Housatonic Museum of Art/CT. She recently received her third Artist Fellowship grant, this from the Connecticut Office of the Arts; reviews in The Huffington Post, The New York Times, D’arte, Art New England and The Examiner, and residencies at the Weir Farm National Historic site and the Vermont Studio Center are among her distinctions. She holds a Master of Fine Arts from Queens College/CUNY, and lives/works in Connecticut.