Barbed Magazine presents the 5th issue, titled “Surrender.” In this issue we have featured artists from Detroit and many other cities across the United States as well as neighbor cities in Canada. We’re also pleased to present work from artists from around the world, including Portugal, France, Georgia, Australia, Germany, Belgium, Norway, and Israel. Artists were invited to participated through a call for submissions, and the response was substantial. One fascinating point is the way in which each artist interpreted the subject of surrender. The curated work in the issue reflects the act of surrender, but also attitudes of resilience: the human urge to prevail toward certainty and understanding. In this issue there is also a new segment we will carry from now on, called Studio Visits. In these pages I meet artists in their studios and discuss intricate details about their artistic practice. I ask questions about process, themes, and why they make the decisions they do in the development of a project. We’ve also changed the publication’s layout to better reflect the magazine’s current creative vision. Instead of division by topical sections, Barbed will be comprised of a body of artistic pieces all working with each other, interlaced with the new Studio Visits segment. It is an honor to present you the latest issue of Barbed Magazine. The magazine is a true collaboration among many people from around the world contributing their talents. It has been my privilege to work with them. In addition, I am excited to share the magazine with the selected participating venues that will be distributing it in limited-edition, printed format. Thanks to the private businesses, educational institutions, and other organizations that have supported this issue. Without their assistance it would not be a reality.
Samuel Lang Budin
Anthony J. Thomas
David Paul Downs
STUDIO VISITS: Jetshri Bhadviya, a walk through the artist’s home based studio. Jetshri prepared a delightful - traditional homemade meal. And we talked about her most recent photography work and performance pieces. Page 5. Mariposa Venenosa, La Mariposa and I met at her studio in Saginaw, a city about an hour and a half North of Detroit; we spent time talking about family, performance art, and the meaning of home. Page 28. Alexander Buzzalini, a throughout look of the juxtaposition of Alex’s mixed media works and themes that relate directly to the Cowboy - Wild West mythology. Page 65. Elijah Ford, at the time of the studio visit, Elijah had his studio in Hamtramck, and we looked at his large format oil paintings; discussed form and space, in relationship with his longing feelings about his friends back in California. Page 76.
Cranbrook Academy of Art
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The countryâ€™s top-ranked, graduate-only program in architecture, design and fine art. Arturo Herrera Publisher and Editor in Chief
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Studio visit: Jetshri Bhadviya Arturo:
I’ve seen this work in your website, and seeing it in person, it definitely has a different feel to it. One of the strangest pieces for me is this wicker chair. I’m curious about it.
This was almost my second turning point as an artist. I wanted to move away from it just being about me. I wanted to start thinking about existential crises in a completely different sense. I found this chair which was completely broken and thrown out. I started thinking of it as almost a negative space to a human body. It has this human quality – like whoever sat in it, whoever owned it--there’s a quality of him in the object itself. It was like the chair became a metaphor for the human body in general. I started to connect with the idea of “I’m going to get old, be thrown away, be the negative space that existed in the world.” So that’s where it came from. I started to find the humanness in the chair itself.
I personally didn’t get that it was a chair someone threw out. I thought you had manipulated it to look like that.
It’s also meant to have a surreal or broken-down feeling, to make it almost alive. I made sure it had that human character while it still was a chair. But that was more in the technical process of actually manipulating the angles and the lighting….
Jetshri Bhadviya, The Metaphoric Chair, 2013. Digital ink-jet print, 17 x 25 in. Image courtesy of the artist.
What do you feel about whoever was the owner of the chair? Knowing the owner is part of the story you just told?
Well, I don’t know who the owner is. It was just a chair in the dumpster, basically. But around this time I was very much fascinated by Marcel Duchamp--how he started rethinking how a useful object becomes useless or completely different to the eye when it’s brought out in an exhibition setting. The aesthetics of the work came from that thought, which was very close to what you said: manipulating an object to have a certain quality. But that was only the aesthetic, and the concept actually came from the idea of discardation – useful things not being useful any more, the idea of us being a positive and negative in the world. Each of us have our own centers, but if that center is taken away it’s not like the world’s going to stop. The idea of connecting to that was important. So the chair came with a lot of metaphors for me. I named the piece “Metaphoric Chair.”
I remember that. I loved it... Moving on, I watched your video, and was sort of mesmerized by you wearing this white dress in the snow. To me, there were several factors in the video—like a ritual, a white dress, and you in the center of the picture. What were you thinking there? Was it a ritual? Was it just a performance? 7
It was a ritual…a ritual that was a performance for the camera and people at that point. My religion is Jainism, and when people of my religion take priesthood they wear white clothes. There are actually two divisions in the religion – some people don’t wear clothes at all and some wear only white clothes when they become priests. The video kind of came from the idea of connecting to the spiritual side of things, because I had just moved here and I felt so out of place. There was this displacement happening with me. It became a way of finding myself or breaking into the environment that wasn’t me. I became almost like this white goddess, connecting with my soul. I was imagining… I was meditating as I was performing, that I was having an out-of-this-body experience, if that makes any sense.
That’s what started me doing the performances. The works I’ve put in over here for you, they’re all at a time, like a breaking point. Each of these are here at that breaking point into something new, into something more about me… there is existential crisis, but you accept it and you go ahead [laughing].
This brings me to the next question. The theme for this issue is Surrender. This means partly what we surrender as individual people to each other…but I also want to talk about how we surrender to authority—to the visa process, policies, things like that. I’m wondering how your work fits into that environment?
My work is about surrendering in many ways. If we look at the video again, it never stops, basically. This piece is about removing the identity completely, yet surrendering to the environment, to finding the me who existed before and still exists now. No matter how much I try to remove my identity, the more I connect to it basically.
It did feel like that to me. It didn’t feel like a performance; I thought you were taking possession of the space. You wearing a white dress in the snow, completely white with the trees in the background… I guess I could draw a relationship between you wearing a white dress and the white snow. But that was actually the breaking point. This performance never happened in front of people. It only happened for the camera. So it never exists for people. It was supposed to be a self-spiritual experience, and to record it. Just letting go.
Right. If it had been done inside a gallery, it would have been a completely different performance. Or if it had been done in a desert, or an ocean or the water…
…it would have been completely different.
The contrast of the clothing and the environment feels like somehow you’re blending into the environment.
That was a part of how I wanted it to feel. There were things happening for me on two levels. At a personal level, being here physically in this space for the first time (this was my first semester)... The second was the spiritual thing of trying to find myself, trying to not get lost, to become one with the environment…the idea of connecting to what’s within me, because I don’t want to get lost completely in being one with the environment.
It becomes powerful once you break that point. Or once you reach the edge and you’re sort of tumbling between falling or not falling.
That’s why the bells are important, that sound of “don’t be completely one with it...otherwise you will be lost.” Like this constant reminder.
I think that could be the beginning of more performances that really touch on the important pinnacles of performance art, in which you’re there but not there, but you sort of go back – I don’t want to say go back and forth, but sort of walking the line.
This whole process is actually a surrender to who you are, to the environment, to being like a blank canvas that can fit anywhere, everywhere, while continuing to be what it is. Arturo:
You said something really important: surrendering your identity. Can you talk about that?
I’m at the viewer’s disposal, for people to think what they want to think. They’re trying to guess who the person behind is, or if it’s actually a real person because in some point it’s so abstract and absurd. They’re surrendering to form, all the stereotypes without really having seen it. Then there’s a third layer when the artist actually exists with the work – when you see me talking about my work. That’s a third kind of surrender, and letting you think about what’s happening there – think about me, my body, and how a body is perceived in a cultural, political, spiritual environment. I am completely at your disposal to what you want to think. I cannot control it. That was the whole point with the work – I didn’t want to control it. You think what you want to think. It’s completely surrendering to the viewers.
When you talk about your work--specifically, The Emancipation--when someone asks,“What is this about,” how would you answer that?
There are so many layers to that work. So much going on in my mind. Do you know the word ‘ipseity’? It exists in Sufism, and it’s an interesting word. Almost every religion has a different meaning to it. Ipseity means the thing, and the nature of the thing itself. That’s the basic meaning. So it’s about me and what makes me….both of those together. And so much to me that I can’t box it into one—so much that, beyond my perception, comes from other people’s perception. The video piece is about letting that get carried away from the viewers, and the meaning just keeps build-
ing to the work. It doesn’t stop. It keeps going and going, as manifestations of the ipseity. I want people to look up that word, because it’s important. I am me, and the way I see it… I’ve grown up with people like me, so I’m a blank canvas. When you throw me into a new environment I’m trying to form myself – it’s like nature, like grass: you put something down, and grass will grow around that object. Arturo:
That’s a very nice metaphor.
Have you ever read Wallace Steven’s “Anecdote of a Jar”? It’s a beautiful poem. The first meaning of the poem is about industrialization that’s happening in Tennessee. It was written around that time. And how industries have taken over nature but nature starts to grow around industry. I started thinking: what if that jar that it’s referring to as industrialization is actually a human? What if that’s me? This idea of me thrown into an environment; the environment grows around me, I grow around the environment. There’s this harmony, and yet, there is you, who’s the center of your little world, and then you just give yourself up because you can’t just stay… If you want to exist with something, you have to change yourself. You have to give up. You have to just surrender yourself to your surroundings and everything else that exists to be able to live.
I love that. That’s very beautiful. And breathing – I’m surrendering myself to being able
to breathe, because my heart wants to beat. Arturo:
Exactly. We’re living times in which, the political environment is dubious, but at the same time, it’s giving us an opportunity to really acknowledge surrender. If you don’t acknowledge that surrender happens on a daily basis, I feel people become insipid, tedious, repetitive.
This work is that realization. Because even if I thought I could go back to a fetus state, where you think you don’t have to surrender to the world to be what everyone else politically and socially and spiritually thinks about you--actually, come to think of it, fetuses surrender themselves to the womb. So you are never in control. There is something, a higher power that’s even bigger than you; you’re constantly surrendering to that. This piece and the performance is that realization.
Why did you decide to use your body instead of an animated body?
That’s where that work comes into context. This was the work right before these. The removal of the bells, the whole idea of removing myself from my identity or emancipating myself from everything. I thought just being in the body, that’s me. The moment I did that, it still wasn’t enough. That’s the moment of realization. You cannot really walk away. I’m still being judged with my body, no matter what. It doesn’t need the basic identity markers, and yet this is about me, right? I’m still being judged, despite that view.
Past Personified, 2013-2014. Still from video. Image courtesy of the artist.
Who is judging you?
The viewers. I’m putting myself out there. What if this work didn’t exist for the people? Then it would be a different story. Let me give a different metaphor. Imagine, tomorrow, that suddenly everything and everyone you know did not exist. Suddenly you would feel you don’t exist either, right? Because you’ve formed yourself around it all. That’s the whole point: even if I disconnect myself from the past, I remove what’s me from that past— whether it’s my gender, my identity, my color, where I come from—all of what makes me me—if I remove that out, rip it out, you might think what’s left is being in that womb-like situation where I’m still forming. And you would think that you could be the person you want without it, and still it’s not enough. Because that judgement never ends. If you exist here, with a physical body, in this environment, which is politically and socially and spiritually just there, it will always judge you.
What do you feel about the following statement: “I know that that’s you, and you know that that’s you, inside that suit.” How do you separate yourself? How can you separate yourself from all those things?
I cannot. That’s the whole point.
I can literally see how you removed everything that makes who you are. The color of your skin, your hair, your clothing, everything.
But I’m still there.
When you know you’ve removed everything of you as the artist, literally, for the viewer to see, how do you remove yourself from who you are? Is this liberating, being inside that suit? Does it feel suffocating?
It helps me disconnect with the world – I can exist in my own world. Because I don’t see anyone. I’m not seeing anyone else judge me when I’m in there.
Does it feel okay that nobody knows it’s you, except you and me right now?
It’s scary, but yes. There’s a moment of breathing, like “Oh, yes, it’s good,” and then there’s a sudden struggle, which you see in some of the videos, where I’m struggling to get out of the suit. It’s a sudden realization: “What if I stay that way, and no one knows I’m in there?” If no one knows that, I wouldn’t exist. And that’s scary, the whole idea of perishing away.
Hmm. Because it is just a body.
It’s a physical body, like it comes with an expiry date at some point, which we don’t know. And what happens then? Do I really get one with the environment, do I just become a ghost and linger [laughs] around people I know? Or do I just not exist anymore?
I don’t know what’s going to happen. There are multiple things happening to me in this piece. It’s more of that mind struggle and questions with no answers. So at a personal level, that’s what the work is doing. At the same time it’s inviting people to just judge me: “Go ahead. You see my body. How are you going to look at that body? Because all you see is the body now.” Arturo:
It is about body image in a way.
In a way, yes. That’s the first view to it. It’s about the body. Beyond that, it’s about that struggle in my mind, questions that don’t have an answer. No one has an answer to that existential crisis. I mean, tell me the person who does. That would be someone who’s achieved that Maslow’s triangle, self-actualization.
I’m not on the verge of self-actualization!
Where do you see this work going from here?
I was thinking of combining performances in these body suits with the sound pieces…. (Recorded voice): “You have to do this. You have to do this. You have to do this. You should do this. You should do this. You have to do it. Do it. Now. You have to do it now. Do it. You have to do this now. You should do it now. You should do it now! To do it now. Do it now. Do it. You [should] be doing this. You should be doing –” I guess it just becomes humorous at some point, even worrying about the fact that there’s an existential crisis. The fact that you’re existing, it’s not going to solve any problem thinking about why you’re here. You just keep doing, you just keep finding that one thing. It’s like Waiting for Godot. You’re just waiting, and forming new things to do…something that keeps you going for the next day. I don’t know if there’s an answer to that. But the words become about the questions and answers themselves.
When I hear you talk about the reasons behind that body of work, my mind goes to a white canvas, to be used for whatever you want. I think you touched on that.
Then it becomes: I don’t know who she is, I don’t know where she’s from, and all those questions that we already spoke about, and it stays there as a white canvas. Then I’m questioning – and maybe that’s a good thing, that I’m questioning myself – whether you are struggling inside that canvas. Is it being, feeling comfortable with yourself, having those pre-assumptions of your body? How does that fill the void?
The Manifestations of the Ipseity, 2016-2017. Stills from video. Image courtesy of the artist.
Well… the thing is, we as a society form these stereotypes because we think it’s coming from a religious point of view. At the same time, you pick out any religious book and it says not to judge—between man and woman; not to think of animal or human as different. They all talk about celebrating life itself, which can exist now within this physical body and can exist beyond that. And most basic religious concepts come from that idea. My point is to make people think. Not just for me, but for everyone else, to see beyond those markers of identity: there is a person that exists beyond it. Even if I’m taking away the identity, I’m giving it one.
Yes. Do you feel you live in the void with a question here? Like this is the pinnacle of your work?
Yes. Not having to see people judge me, it makes me super-confident being there, of who I am, what I’m doing. To find that actual person, to connect with the real person rather than the things that make you think about them in a stereotypical way.
And how would you think, as a person, I connect with that? With that body of work.
At least you try to think of… there’s something live in there, right? You try to think about where that person is coming from; you try to develop a sense of sympathy to what that person might be thinking, why they’re not showing themselves to you.
Because this is in a studio environment, very carefully placed—how would you feel about doing this when I have come to your house or your studio, and you’ve been wearing that suit…
I am working towards that [laughter]. I’m working towards live performances in front of people, in those body suits. It was difficult for me to just wear a body suit and let my body be seen. I don’t come from a place where you do that.
No, neither do I.
Wearing pants was not normal either. So it was a big step for me personally.
I would have a hard time doing that too. It takes a lot of courage to become a performance piece yourself.
I was thinking about performance pieces and working with distorted sounds to go with them. I’m still thinking that part out. Starting with a completely…blank canvas with the idea of being a fetus, then the story of adding the bells to show that… added connections to show that…then the peak part of the performance, struggling to get out of them. The final part of the performance would be connecting back to that fetus state, but as me, without those markers. To tell that story all the way through. Each of the pieces that come between it have to do with the whole idea.
The Manifestations of the Ipseity, 2016-2017. Stills from video. Image courtesy of the artist.
I don’t know how it’s going to turn out. I’m still 13
currently works as an Adjunct Professor at College for Creative Studies.
working on it. I’m still struggling to figure this part out, how I can perform while being this person. And it might not even exist like I’m thinking… I don’t know if I want to really… The thing is I actually am not convinced I want it to be in the story form, I want it to be as a living, breathing person. Arturo:
It doesn’t necessarily have to be along the same lines, wearing the same suit and doing all these movements, or even being in a space. It might be about letting somebody else in the suit. Who knows? ______________________________________________ Jetshri Bhadviya is an Indian artist based in Detroit. Through video, sound, performance and Photography Bhadviya’s works explore how a human body activates a space and how it is perceived in a social, political, religious, and spiritual context. In 2011 the Sheikha Manal Young Artist Foundation awarded Bhadviya among the top 10 artists in Dubai. She holds an MFA in Photography from Cranbrook Academy of Art (2015), and received the Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship Award. Bhadviya has worked as a Curatorial Assistant at Detroit Institute of Arts and
(i) Jetshri Bhadviya, The Surreal Proof of Life, 2011. Gelating Silver print, 11 x 17 in. Image courtesy of the artist. (ii) Jetshri Bhadviya, “bales”, 2016. Polaroid scan, from studio visit.
Amy Carkeekâ€™s photographic practice explores the relationships between the manufacturing of desire and aspirations through consumer objects and imagery. By questioning the photographic medium and its construction of narrative and ideologies within popular culture, Carkeek seeks to depict the cracks in an increasingly unsustainable faĂ§ade. Children should be seen and not heard (2016) is part of a larger body of work which uses discarded ceramic figurines-once valued and beloved domestic objects-and through their modification seeks to disrupt the intended sweet, innocent and obedient characters to create a bleaker more disturbing alternative. Carkeek has exhibited in galleries across Australia and in Philadelphia, USA and she has been a finalist in and winner of various prestigious Australian awards.
Amy Carkeek, Children should be seen and not heard, 2016. Archival inkjet print, 100 x 66 cm. Image courtesy of the artist. Brisbane, Australia. www.amycarkeek.com.
Rachel Wolfe, born 1984 in rural Illinois, is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in Oslo, Norway. Her work is collected and exhibited in the United States, Europe, and Asia. Wolfe works in the medium best serving the project: image, photography, installation, drawing, video, performance. Water, ice, rocks are repeated subjects in Wolfeâ€™s work. The Nature of Desire motivate her constructions of aestheticized experience. Literal and material focus are given to on Place, Subjectivity, and the Irrespirable. Values and conversations on geographies and bodies, kinesthetic translation, intrinsic desire, vulnerability, and beauty are embedded in the work. Her art making runs parallel to the research field of Embodied Cognition. 16
Rachel Wolfe, Currere I and Currere II, diptych, 2016. Images printed on single surface, 120 x 160 cm. Images courtesy of the artist. Oslo, Norway. www.rachelwolfe.com.
By Ann Lewis ...and counting (2016) is an interactive installation that details the circumstances surrounding each police involved death in America during 2016. By presenting only the facts on individual toe tags this project gives the viewer an objective and all encompassing opportunity to face our nationâ€™s ubiquitous problem of death at the hands of police. As the days ticked forward the installation grew as participants added new names and details of each death to the piece. As a multi-disciplinary artist I am interested in the power dynamics of society and the intended or unintended consequences when shifts in power go unchecked. I choose to reflect upon and frequently challenge these dynamics with large scale, often public, installations and participatory performances. Through conceptspecific materials such as womenâ€™s underwear, toe tags, and police barricade tape I create striking experiences that instigates curiosity and solution based ideas around social justice, and environmental concerns.
Ann Lewis, ...and counting, 2016. Dimensions variable. Ribbon, toe tags, ink, metal. Image courtesy of the artist. Detroit, Michigan. www.annlew.is.
Samuel Lang Budin, Maurice Avenue and 53rd Drive across from Mt. Zion Cemetery, Maspeth, NY, 2015 - present. Scanned 35mm slides, from the series, Greetings from the Atlantic Seabed! Image courtesy of the artist. Brooklyn, New York. www.samuellangbudin.com.
Greetings from the Atlantic Seabed!, is a typologic study of places in and around New York City at risk of permanent flooding due to ocean level rise due, in turn, to anthropogenic global climate change, given a maximum global average temperature change of +4ยบ C. Among these are East New York in Brooklyn, which is in the middle of a real estate development boom (one imagines the inevitable bust), and Newtown Creek, one of the most polluted industrial waterways in the US, which at its high tide extremity will drown almost the entire length of Maurice Avenue, setting coffins adrift. It will reach up the hill to the point on 53rd Ave. from which this picture was taken. The series, shot on 35mm slide film and presented in the form of a narrated lecture, rejects the idea that the incipient catastrophe can feasibly be mitigated on a large scale and preemptively begins the evacuation of the locations depicted, suspending them at the instant between the departure of their former inhabitants and the advent of the floodwaters.
Samuel Lang Budin, Gateway Center, Spring Creek, East New York, NY, 2015 - present. Scanned 35mm slides, from the series, Greetings from the Atlantic Seabed! Image courtesy of the artist. Brooklyn, New York. www. samuellangbudin.com.
La Rue Moret
, (ongoing project first created in 2013) Soup, collected words, ingredient list, the consuming of these words
La Rue Moret, is an action / participative based work first made in the context of a workshop entitled, « Si nous continuons à nous parler le même langage, nous allons reproduire la même histoire ». It is ritual soup of fears collected over a two-month period from a street after which the work takes its name; an eclectic 200m street in Paris’s 11 district home to Senegalese and Moroccan cuisine, five or so Muslim libraries, perfumeries, a dense immigrant population, and simultaneously the home of trendy Parisian hangouts and art spaces such as Treize and Glassbox. Day like night gangs of underage drug peddlers and prostitutes entertain the sidewalks. The lines and lives cohabit but rarely intersect beyond necessity. An extended period of time was spent trying to catch a glimpse of the streets’ undercurrent through observations and conversations with those who worked there or passed most often. Once a certain familiarity was established, I challenged individuals for the words they no longer wanted to hear in an attempt to identify a collective source of unwanted negativity. I explained my ritual to them; I asked for words in any language, I did not need to understand them, only to feel the sincerity inherent in them. I would give these words a material form translated through strips of fresh pasta, and through an appropriation act physically consume them with strangers. Unwanted lexicon surrendered up to a stranger through trust and the guise of art, to be transformed as sacrificial dinner. Terrorist, Pute…brewed in a basic Bloody Mary soup whose ingredients are selected for the intrinsic values they are said to possess; tomatoes (love apples), to repel negative energies, salt for protection, purification... through ingestion in a ritual of sympathetic experience, each added element was essential to then desired result.
With a multidisciplinary approach that is often site-specific, Bianca Bondi’s practice being very much process based, is a blending of material experiment and method. Working with a non-exhaustive list of ingredients such as copper, resin, beeswax, salt, latex and various chemical solutions, the materials are chosen for their potential for transformation; resulting in entirely strange and new surfaces. Her work process can be likened to ritual practice or a sort of instinctive alchemy in the promotion of mutation and ultimately in poetic dissolution. She correlates these organic combinations to various current situations flirting with spiritual, psychological, and social subject matter while always honoring the intangible.
Bianca Bondi, (detail) La Rue Moret, 2013 - . Soup, collected words, ingredient list, the consuming of these words. Image courtesy of the artist. Paris, France. www.biancabondi.co.
(detail) La Rue Moret, 2013 - . Soup, collected words, ingredient list, the consuming of these words. Image courtesy of the artist.
(detail) La Rue Moret, 2013 - . Soup, collected words, ingredient list, the consuming of these words. Image courtesy of the artist.
(detail) La Rue Moret, 2013 - . Soup, collected words, ingredient list, the consuming of these words. Image courtesy of the artist.
Brea Weinreb Iâ€™m fascinated by binaries and the interactions that take place between their opposing sides. Particularly central to my work are the oppositions between male and female, Biblical and secular, and real versus imagined spaces. I continually return to the Biblical trope of the Garden because it represents an imagined space upon which a heteronormative, binary view of gender is projected. I use the same backdrop to project deviated permutations of what gender and sexual identity can be. poetics make anything palatable plays on the Biblical trope of forbidden fruit. Eve surrendered to her desire masked in the form of an apple, which led to her and Adamâ€™s expulsion from Eden. In my rendition, the female figure savagely consumes a pear whilst her male counterpart looks on morosely, presumably contemplating their imminent Fall or already Fallen state. A curious binary exists between voluntary surrender and involuntary defeat.
Brea Weinreb, poetics make anything palatable, 2016. Oil on canvas, 48 x 60 inches. Image courtesy of the artist. Berkeley, California. www.breaweinreb.com
Studio visit: Mariposa Venenosa Saginaw, Michigan. 30
What is the title of that piece?
Mariposa Venenosa: It doesn’t have a title yet, but the piece is talking about the different ideologies and values given to me as a kid, those multicultural experiences, and how I utilize them as an adult. I’m almost going back in time, trying to map different symbols from when I was a kid, and understanding why or how they’re affecting me now as an adult. Arturo:
What are the 7UP-type bottles? Where do they come from?
They’re from my basement as a kid. They were left there by the owners who sold the house to my dad. Those owners had had the house since the 1950s. My dad kept the bottles because he said they reminded him of when he was a kid. He would always show them off. He was like, “This is the soda from when I was a kid.” Later, me and my sister tried to find those things, because that’s what my dad had, and it was a good time for him. We would drive to the Mexican corner store and we’d get Coca Colas and stuff, just like these sodas. Even in high school, I made an installation, and my dad helped me with it. It was supposed to look like random bottles in a city, but the city didn’t exist in Chicago or in Uruguay; it was an inbetween world that I was creating.
You said you keep adding things that are memorable to you to this altar, if I can call it that. Do you think it’s ever going to be done or will you keep adding things?
No, I have been adding and taking away. I see it as an installation, so it is a work in itself. But at the same time, I might do some studies. It’s like trying to find the symbolic meaning behind each item and what it means for me. I think the process is never done, but the objects will eventually be their own object together, working together.
How do you go about the process of selecting? Do you ever say, “Okay, I’m going to leave it alone for a month, and come back and then rearrange it”?
Yes. What happens with a lot of my art is almost like I want to recycle symbolism. Months from now, part of this will go into something else and evolve in a new process. But it’s more like I’m recharging my mental storage space than it becoming a finite piece. I have never made finite work. Even when I make two-dimensional work, I put it away, it lives somewhere else for a couple of years, and then, six, seven, eight years later, I’ll pull it out, and it becomes part of a current state of mind. I don’t look at things in a linear fashion.
Do you think this is one piece on its own or do you
Mariposa Venenosa, installation, 2017. Image from studio visit. Saginaw, Michigan. http://koolrabicapitan.blogspot.com
ever consider it part of your installation? MV:
I see it as a part of an installation….maybe a space where a ceremony will happen.
Is there a particular reason you chose to have it at the very beginning of your space?
I wanted it to be in front of the clothesline. Right now I’m working with this clothesline symbolism – washing clothes by hand, hanging clothes by hand, and then putting on display these objects that are sentimental for whatever reason, from childhood and adulthood. Like hanging the dirty laundry out, so that it can be exposed.
So this altar is working as a washboard in a way. Not that it looks like a washboard, but it has a very symbolic meaning of a washboard.
Yes, a washboard, and a basin for washing.
Especially with the clothesline – it goes very well with it. They’re closely related in a very interesting way. Like looking at the photographs hanging from there, with their clothespins and some of the paintings and your hairpins. I really like the juxtaposition of the altar and the clothesline. Maybe you can talk about that piece in the middle.
Ever since I was little, I would hold on to all these objects that take me back to a time and place, maybe a real or imagined space. Each one has a story – when I had it, what I was doing. For most people, this is stuff that you throw out. But as a kid, my house was transitional. It changed so much that I would hold on to these objects. It would give me stability to know that I could depend upon an object that put me in a time and place—more than the way my life actually was. I didn’t feel home was a house you go to. For me, home was about all these things…these stories that I was building up. It was like, “Oh, this was a moment when I felt like home,” or “This was a moment that felt like family.” A lot of those objects were gifts from my family in Uruguay. And I think some of them are also fantasized objects. So what do I want to be….how do I idealize being something? I was super-fascinated with old cinematography and old movies, the femme fatale. She was allowed to be a wild, ravaging lady in the pictures. I think some of those objects were because I wanted to be this idyllic femme fatale in my adult life. It’s something I think I craved as a kid, but I also pursued and saw as a means of being independent.
Could you actually wear that, as it is?
I don’t know. I think if I was going to wear it I would just put it right in front. That’s how I look at work sometimes. I hold it up. Almost like a bath towel or something. And I just look at it right here. I don’t know why.
Well, it has the look of an undergarment, in a way. Like a corset. 31
You know, I have a tendency to make corsets out of objects. I’ve done one in the past with hair of different people. I made a corset out of their hair.
Going back to what you were saying about what makes you feel at home – you said going to a house does not make you feel at home.
No. As a kid, I moved fourteen times. As an adult now, at 32, I’ve moved 26 times. And sometimes I don’t move, but I do travel, so I’m not at one place.
Do you feel that home has a concept of objectivity? Is it a physical thing you can actually hold on to, that makes you feel at home no matter where you are?
No, because I would move so much I’d lose a lot of objects too. So I had to make up a formula in my head so that I would be okay. “If I have the object, I’m meant to have it, and there’s a reason for that time and place.” Or, “If I lose an object, it’s not mine at that time, and it belongs to somebody else, and they need it for that time and place.”
ence between a woman everyday who’s working and making money or having passes made at her in her everyday life work and home-life; as opposed to a woman who’s selling those things, where it’s sexual or flirtatious at work or in home-life. Arturo:
I was going to ask about that. How do you think domesticity plays a role in all this?
What I’m discovering for myself is that flat out, we already know women don’t get paid enough. We get paid less than men. To be independent as a woman, you have to make it work. And so many women make it work by getting a marriage, having a kid, and then they have their home paid for. Some women, when they stay in that environment, don’t have enough to pay for certain things, because the husband or non-existent is not good enough. As a woman who does sex work or who does exchanges of any kind, you are doing the same thing, you just have more than one paycheck or pocket to pull from or more then one man. Even if you have a regular job, you’re supplementing the income by having a certain amount of patrons donate toward your cost of living.
I had to do that to not feel a sense of loss all the time, from losing objects, losing homes, losing parents. I had to make up all these rules, so that it didn’t affect me so much. Arturo:
You were talking about performance and how you were going to wash some white t-shirts. Would this be a set-up that would be part of the performance?
It’s possible that this can be part of the installation, nearby. Or maybe in one place there’s a scene happening, and it has incense or whatever, and the action’s happening at the side. It’s a different story, but it’s part of this collage. I think I look at it all on the clothesline because I’m trying to explore the ideas of gendered identity and domesticity. The women in my family did not grow up with the same domesticity of the wife ideals that maybe U.S.A. nuclear family strives for. There was an attitude of doing whatever you need to do to get by. I think I’m hanging up all these images about the women in the family – looking at when they’re domestic, when they’re not, trying to find out how they get out of the role of having to be the good domestic house wife. My mom, specifically, still wishes I would have a regular marriage, a regular house, a regular nuclear family. She wanted that for herself, but she dated more than fifty people when I was growing up. She would change and adapt to be whoever that person needed her to be in every relationship, so she could get her emotional needs and sometimes her financial needs met. That’s something I learned too, my sister and I. I think my mom and my aunt learned it from my grandmother too. My grandmother, after her original husband was addicted to drugs and was homeless, would do whatever she needed to raise her four kids. I think that happens for a lot of women. In my last body of work too, I’m exploring the differ-
I think about the intersectionality of a woman who “has,” who judges other women who “don’t have,” and their creative needs of survival. It’s not bad or good, although society looks at it as bad or good. Actually, it’s the same. It’s just a different way; and not even that different if you think about it. A woman who’s a wife and a mother and has a husband with the job, is doing the same work as a woman who has it with four different patrons or clients or lovers. Arturo:
I’m curious also about the length of the clothesline. Does it ever get longer? Do you ever change what’s hanging?
The hand-washing and the clothesline are symbols from my dad’s mom. She washed her clothes by hand her whole life, and she has muscles in her hands to do it the right way. When I went to live with her for a while, I had to learn to do it that way, and I was so incompetent. So I was admiring how this was just something she does. It’s like brushing your teeth. The stuff that hangs on the line does change. I’ve done other performances where the clothesline hangs other objects, other clothes, clothes that I have washed in Mugre de Vida I call it. It’s like the dirt or essence of life.
Back to the hanging aerial fabric. You’re hanging yourself from those things too. Do you think there’s a relationship there?
Probably. When I went to college the first time, I did fiber arts, and I think about how this is another fiber art. I am just hanging from fabric, instead of composing or creating a fabric.
You said that that’s sort of an unfinished piece; or in the process of becoming a piece.
It takes a lot of physical strength to compose a work up in the aerial fabric that has the same heavy
symbolism I make here. I think eventually the two can come together. I have thought of and performed some pieces where this line becomes like a dance that happens not only vertically like in the aerial fabric but also horizontally on a clothesline. One time, the clothesline was a piece of floss that I stuck between my front teeth, and it was from there to the wall. Instead of clothes, I was hanging these berries on it, staining it with the berries. And that was the dance – how I put it, and how I continued to enlarge the line and the distance. Arturo:
I feel like these two bodies of work are, in a very mysterious way, closely related. I’m starting to understand how you work.
Yeah, my process is like I’ve already created an encyclopedia in my brain, and each thing has its place, and then I re-evoke it. My recent work is trying to get it out of my head and have it more like personal mapping a personal encyclopedia that somebody can access more freely, without hearing these stories. Because otherwise people don’t hear the story, they just know the narrative from the actual performance when they see it.
Following that, how would you develop a performance from this body of work, can we walk through the process?
It’s a lot of improvisation. It’s instinct. I’m searching for it, and when I feel that it’s happening, I go there.
How do you make the decision to make a performance?
Sometimes it comes in a dream. I have a story in my dream, and the story needs this item, that item, and another item, and then I do a ceremony.
Would you say ceremony and performances are related?
Yes. Even everyday ceremonies in our lives are performative. When you have a wedding, you do it a way that it means something. I think the best one is the lady on the plane telling you about the security measures. She’s doing a dance, and she does it the same every time. It’s a safety ceremony.
Someone might argue that, that would not be a performance because it’s doing the same thing over and over.
No, it’s just the same performance, but different people. So it’s slightly different every time.
Once you make the decision to make a performance, does that ever change when you do it over and over again?
Yes, it does over time. I have a few performances I’ve performed seven, eight different times, and they change and evolve depending on where I am in my life, and what experiences I gather. They have new meaning. I have one piece I call my blue piece, and I’ve done it since 2003. I would still perform it. It’s
so relevant. And each time it has different values. Arturo:
I’m wondering how conscious you are when you’re performing? I haven’t done performance work for a while, but there was one where I was making tortillas. There were times when I’d be making tortillas and questioning in my head whether this was the right way to do it, whether I was being authentic, if the clapping of the hands was loud enough, if I was yelling loud enough…all those questions were going through my head every time I did it.
Oh, wow. For me it’s a little different. All those questions come before the performance. Then when the performance happens, I go into a meditative state. I don’t even think those things. They just happen. I don’t have to plan. I know exactly what happens next. It’s like doing a yoga class. You have a sequence, and it’s not always the same sequence, but you’re getting a certain amount out of it, whether it’s a three-hour piece or a 15-minute piece. It’s almost like a science experiment. All those things you said you worried about—I worry about them before I begin to perform, during the performance whatever happens is the right way to do it.
Do you make any decisions during the performance?
And once you make those decisions, do you just go by them? Do you question them?
It’s an instinct for me. I studied jazz, improvisational performance. In jazz, there’s a certain string of notes, and you have a few different kinds that are recommended to challenge you 2-5-1 licks they are called within a certain measure and rhythm. You can screw it up, put in different notes, a different time, rhythm or whatever, but if you have all the tools and you learn how to do the process, then when it’s happening, it’s instinctual. It’s about speaking whatever is happening internally in the moment. Or you know when you cook, and you don’t use the recipe exactly? 33
Right. I was thinking about what a performance means personally. As I said, when I was doing the tortilla performance, I was so conscious of everything. I think that always got in the way. I wanted to make it more personal. Because I feel performance has got to affect you personally in order to affect somebody else. So I’m just trying to get a sense of how you do your performance work.
I make work for me first, and then, when it has meaning for somebody else, it’s because it’s powerful in that way – my story or whatever story I take on, be it fantasy or reality, can be other people’s stories too. I had one about immigration and family and acculturation. I have a friend whose family is from China, and his experience is completely different. But when I speak about my experience, it evokes certain similar themes for him in his process of being here, and the immigration of his family. So I pick a theme, a few themes, and then I pick a narrative. But I don’t pick a linear narrative. I think of semiotics, science, values or where things mean something across languages.
Let’s talk about your process of collecting ideas. The idea of a river of thoughts; visually, in a way, some might say, “Oh, that’s a mess.” But if you pay attention to it, there’s a rhythm to the lines of photographs, papers, etc. To me, this is the beginning of something. It might be something you leave behind for a while, and then you never see it again, but it’s the beginning of a new work. Can you to talk a little about how you start a new work?
Since I was little, I had an insane amount of dream life, almost as much as I would have real life. And for me, sometimes the dream life was more valuable because real life was too hard. I didn’t want to be there. When I do a collage, I’m going through different kinds of images from everywhere. Each image will evoke a visual that I have, for either a dream reality or a real reality. I take this image because I thought of my father in Uruguay, and his family lineage is Basque. There’s a certain aesthetic about the old, grumpy man with the hat, who won’t stop smoking, that I feel is also in my dad, and also in me.
Manzanita Bien Cortada, performance, 2005. Apple, pairing knife and dinner plate. Image courtesy of the artist.
Lipsticked, performance, 2010. Red lipstick, white negligee top, red hot pants, bathroom mirror. Photo by Rick Fleddermann.
So I pick an image and then I work with that. Here, there’s this floral pattern I drew on a silk screen, and then I silk-screened the image, so it’s a kind of monotype. But then it’s abstracted to where it might be just the cenizas or ashes and embers of a cigarette. Arturo:
Is there a point where you’re gathering information and material, at which you say, “this is going to be part of a performance or painting or part of a drawing on an altar”? How do you make that decision?
I make it when it comes up more than once. It’s like I’m doing it without thinking about if it’s now or later, and suddenly I see an image coming up more than once. This guy with the cigarette and this grumpy aesthetic is coming up again and again, and then I’m like, “Oh! I have to look at that and evaluate it more. What is this symbol? Or this sentiment?” And then I’m doing investigative research on my own symbolism.
What about all these books here?
I am also an activist and artist, so a lot of these books are about social movements, about physical movements. They’re about other people’s immigration stories. Right now I’m trying to generate a body of work from one. It’s called The People of Paper by Salvador Plascencia. For me it has a similar symbolism to what’s going on in my own work, so I’m re-reading it. I have here the migration for work—guilt. When is it a holy, spiritual calling, when do you lose that? When is the exchange of one culture for another a process of colonialism? Who is Eve in the Bible and why does the old grumpy man need to create her? Here, he makes her out of paper. In the last book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, he creates Eve in this young prostitute that he’s visiting. What is this need to create her?
In a way you’re constantly feeding your own research of creation, with different subjects, like immigration and religion.
Or spiritual path. This one is the role of the woman, and here he’s describing her as being pissed on. He uses very visual imagery, where he’s using the term “being pissed on.” He’s almost making it like her husband is actually pissing on her.
One last thing. I want you to pick a word for that image and describe it to me.
[pauses] I can’t pick one word…but I just… la manera como pelar la manzana.
Why? Because my dad grew up in a dictatorship and his mom taught him he had to do it a certain way so he didn’t waste things. The way that I he did it is the way that I learned it.
Statement: Performance ART; an alternate reality. The cultural context of being multi–racial/multi-ethnic 1st and 2nd -generation immigrant is seeded into my work. Memories and dreams become a pool of reminiscences of which to choose from, exploring gender roles, values, sex work, class, institutional struggle, financial challenges and power rituals. Costumes of recycled materials, repurposed objects, and food as props, these art objects become symbols challenging the multiplicities’ of social engagement. Exploring vocal sounds through free-form experimentation with communication; the various tones and timbres of the human voice, language and the thoughts they provoke. Placing performances into social spaces, homes, public buildings, bars, streets, rooftops, exe., heightens the experimentation of the participatory. Blurring the lines of perception and bearing witness to the spectacle. “ The spectacle is not a collection of images, but a social relation among people, mediated by images.” Guy Debord, The Society of the Spectacle (chapter1, #4) Mariposa Venenosa.
Mariposa Venenosa is an artist, creative educator, and an activist working and living in Saginaw Michigan. i
(i) Mariposa Venenosa, Yoga swings, 2017. Image from studio visit in Saginaw, Michigan.
Honeysuckle, performance, 2016 - . From the Ass in The Workplace Body of work. Image courtesy of the artist.
Natalia Danner, untitled, from series Zwischenraum, 2016. Film photography, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist. Munich, Germany. www.instagram.com/environmental_urban_exercises - vimeo.com/dadadanner.
Zwischenraum series By Natalia Danner
These photographs are part of Zwischenraum, a project that lays claim to a passionate approach to the urban life routine. The title is a German word that can be translated into English as a ‘gap,’ ‘interval,’ ‘space.’ Here I search for the encounter between material and fleeting by documenting architectural forms along with such ephemeral substances like, for example, the play of the light and shadow. As an artist and a person, for whom the city is a natural habitat, through these photographs I ask myself a question about how much such temporary magic moments influence our notion of the urban environment, help to jump out of cliches and rediscover the places we live in.
Natalia Danner, untitled, from series Zwischenraum, 2016. Film photography, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist. Munich, Germany.
Natalia Danner, untitled, from series Zwischenraum, 2016. Film photography, dimensions variable. Image courtesy of the artist. Munich, Germany.
Make America Great Again By Robert Siegelman
Make America Great Again, installation, 2016. Seven discarded and reclaimed American Flags, oppositve page: security glass, Plexi-glass and wood. Size unrecorded. Images courtesy of the artist. Boston, Massachusetts. http://robert-siegelman.tumblr.com.
Very influenced by traditional Caucasian visuals, I’m really interested in the conversation of this very traditional imagery with a more contemporary aesthetic. This is also a conversation that I like to nourish through the themes of my works. I think it is an interesting dichotomy to express the states our countries are in: stuck in time and traditions but also very much opening up, and very fast, to new technologies, ideas, to the west in general. I am very fascinated by all forms of dementia and the idea of someone very sane becoming delusional from long seclusion. Working as an artist in this part of the world ( maybe everywhere ) is rather isolating, and the more you commit to your work the more you isolate I think as you need time to focus on your project and most of your surrounding don’t quite understand what you’re doing really. The choice of marriage is not completely a coincidence, besides its holy aspect, I wanted to demystify the institution of marriage ( the only choice in Armenia ) and highlight the fact that it could, instead of creating a beautiful union, weaken both parts. Women are often asked to take care of the house, have kids and educate them after marriage, and to me, this is basically total alienation and a nightmare. As if the female figure was a soft paste, malleable, doomed to vanish in her husband’s shadow.
All images in pages 42,43,44,45, untitled, size variable, 2016. Digital photography. Images courtesy of the artist. Marjanishvili district in Tbilisi. www.thelivewildcollective.com.
Lucie Khahoutian is an Armenian visual artist born in 1990 in Erevan, Armenia. She graduated from Minas Avetysyan school of Fine Arts in 2010 and received a Fine Arts Degree from the American University of Armenia in 2012. Lucieâ€™s work aspire to create enriching encounters between western contemporary visual culture and strong traditional Armenian references. Her projects approaches a wide range of topics while being very focused on religion, spirituality, and mystical matters. Lucie is part of the Live Wild collective, her works have been published online and in print. She lived in Glendale, CA and Detroit, MI for several years and recently relocated to Tbilissi, Georgia in response to the presidential elections.
Anthony J. Thomas’s work offers an intimate lens on the conversation of public versus private, producing “memoirs” which meditate on the phenomena of memory - its influence on our relationship to space, understanding of cultural identity and proposing how such can contribute to one’s connection to a particular idea or moment. Ultimately, each work incites a voyeuristic, curious exchange between artist and viewer - where race seamlessly rests on the helm of this connection. “We are all examples of shared, often common experiences and the spaces we inhabit tend to carry the weight of this communal existence - the axis of my work rests on the middle ground between memory, space and again race...from personal anecdotes featuring narratives of family to broader concepts like religion or social/political assembly. I believe memory and the act of “remembering” continues to serve as the sole faculty which offers us a brief glimpse into our universal human identity”. Anthony J. Thomas is a multi-disciplinary artist raised, living + working in Brooklyn, NY.
Anthony J. Thomas, AT LEAST WE HAVE MIDNIGHT...(I, said this before), Digital Chromogenic Print, 20 x 24 inches, 2017. Brooklyn, NY. http://www.a-jt.net/
READING State of Siege For several years, I have been concerned with site-responsive art projects. Since my aesthetics has been related to places, sites, locations, and communities where I have been invited to work, inevitably my practice has become oriented towards participatory art, relational issues and the politics of context. Each of those site-specific proposals was designed to provide an aesthetical comment on matters such as Human Rights, ecology, cultural dialogue and common criticism. Nevertheless, as a visual artist, the primary interest of my practice is focused on aesthetics understood as this autonomous regime of the experience that is not reducible to logic, reason, or morality. Since my art practice is not able to solve real problems, I have conceived such projects as artistic tools capable of imagining compensatory ways of dealing with suffering, oblivion, and conflict solving. Some of my art projects emerge as creative actions in the face of real current situations that demand critical reflection, and hopefully, transformation.
JesĂşs Palomino, READING State of Siege, Edition of 1,000 books, 21 x 15 cm, 2016. Sahrawi Refugee Camps. Tindouf, Algeria. Images courtesy of the artist. Seville, Spain. www.jesuspalomino.com
Barrocas Leiter Although photography is my greatest work tool, my artwork does not have a medium par excellence. This project began with the desire to explore the potential of the archive, be it institutional, author, or fictional. In all my projects, in an initial or terminal phase... Come across the question of the “I”. The self-social, the self-political, the self-my-other-self is something that is always present. This silly question led me to include my photographs in the project. Since 2015 I started creating this photographic archive - the operational exercises of the parachutist’s special force. I question the reason for this passion, and I see that the answer lies in the earliest childhood. I relate my past events to symptoms that I have today. But if it were not for the obsession to work on the archive and to write very few times “Necessito de uma gota de sangue” with the violence of someone who writes on an old typewriter that neither the letter “T” has ... I would not have come to the conclusion that my memory had concealed from my conscious something that was part of my childhood. 52
(i) Barrocas Leiter, Necessito de uma gota de sangue (18), 2016. Photography, 21 x 18 cm. (ii) Necessito de uma gota de sangue (15), 2016. Images courtesy of the artist. Aveiro, Portugal. https://www.facebook.com/foto.leiter
(i) Barrocas Leiter, Necessito de uma gota de sangue (24), 2016. Photography, 21 x 18 cm. (ii) Necessito de uma gota de sangue (25), 2016. Images courtesy of the artist. Aveiro, Portugal. https://www.facebook.com/foto.leiter
(i) Barrocas Leiter, Necessito de uma gota de sangue (27), 2016. Photography, 21 x 18 cm. Images courtesy of the artist. Aveiro, Portugal. https://www.facebook.com/foto.leiter
The Letting Go is an ongoing project, which harnesses the act of bloodline tattooing as part of a holistic experience to explore vulnerability, impermanence and personal transformation. In 2012, I began developing this process as a performance art project, to explore an alternative form of intimate personal inquiry, in the contemporary art setting. Following a one-to-one inquiry with me and in response to the question, “What would you like to let go of?” An obstacle is identified, named and inscribed on a participant’s skin as a text-based bloodline tattoo (no ink and not scarification: a temporary wound). Over time as the physical wound heals, the word fades and disappears. The project has become both public performance art and private practice. I am frequently in awe of the stunning surrender, which this process inspires,for not only participants but also in spectators and myself. Natascha Stellmach, Day 1, Jennifer’s Letting Go, diptych, 2014. Image courtesy of the artist. Melbourne and Berlin. www.thelettinggo.net
Tony Romano New Work: Kissed By A Mule 2014 - 2016 Kissed By A Mule (2014 - 2016), a large stage-like platform upon which two sets of several sculptures each, are arrayed. The components of some of these are the welded together remains of the Universal Carrier, now brightly painted and totemic, in line with the formal strategies of various post-war Modernist sculptors from David Smith to Anthony Caro. With this project Romano has spoken of recalibrating the karma, or intent, of the steel, reclaimed from a violent past into a new existence as peaceful works of art, railings and benches. The rough
these gestures Romano poetically enacts a kind of war effort in reverse (when many sculptures and railings and benches were melted down to deal with the shortage of steel for munitions and tanks during WWII). A second set of sculptures, each painted black and adorned with fibreglass figures, complement those made of the tank fragments, and together suggest the facets of an artistâ€™s life, complete with garden, kitchen, a muse, a sleeping lover, a studio with tools and - perhaps - a selfportrait of the artist himself. Working within a family tradition of carpentry and metal work Romano uses these sculptures to explore the possibilities his everyday materials and, in doing so, to bridge the disparate worlds of daily working class labour with the more rarified atmosphere of the high art object.
Tony Romano, Kissed By A Mule, 2014- 2016. Installation photos and excerpt text courtesy of Clint Roenisch gallery. Toronto, Canada. tonyromano.ca
Stéphane Roy “...Growing up on the fringes of our system, I was forever confronted with this society that segments, fragments, divides and ranks groups of individuals but, above all, with the multifarious aspects and ‘twilight’ zones specific to our human species. Infused by a somewhat chaotic past that propelled me to the extreme limits of human complexity, I eventually decided to take a stance, to act, in a world that I contemplated as a vast stage just waiting to be occupied, to be reclaimed..”
(i) 4.342154, (ii) 50.834320, StĂŠphane Roy, 2016 - 2017. Street trash, mixed media. 6 x 3 x 1.5 m. Images courtesy of the artist. Brussels, Belgium.
Villa in the Jungle By Ayelet Zohar
Working in the industrial area at the southern part of Tel Aviv, the Benyamini Contemporary Ceramics Centre is a white, Modernist, clean cut building that houses ceramic activities. In my project, I covered the building with camouflage netting, reducing its presence as a Modernist villa for the sake of creating an emerged and humble presence in the neighborhood. The project, however, has further significance in the context of Israeli politics: the title “Villa in the Jungle” is borrowed from Mr. Ehud Barak, who during a ceremonial speech declared that Israel was like “A Villa in the Jungle,” meaning, it was a manifestation of Western, Modernist, enlightenment, in a chaotic and disordered region. The idiom quickly spread, and caused much stir, debate and controversy. The current project sets to examine the tensions revealed within the subtext of this phrase: issues concerning colonial oppression and postcolonial hybridity, using parody as a method to question widely accepted truth within one’s own society. Ayelet Zohar, Villa in the Jungle, 2016. Camouflage netting over a building, 10 x 10 x 15 m. Images courtesy of the artist. Azor, Israel. ayeletzohar.blogspot.com
Ayelet Zohar, Villa in the Jungle, 2016. Camouflage netting over a building, 10 x 10 x 15 m. Images courtesy of the artist. Azor, Israel. ayeletzohar.blogspot.com
A Physical Representation of Relief By Nate Nettleton These recent sculptural works are produced from found and altered materials to construct physical representations of things that typically possess no physicality. Feelings and human emotions are explored as if they were a separate entity, independent from the person experiencing them. Posing the question, â€œHow would/could a tangible physicality change our understanding, interactions, and connections with these difficult to describe human emotions that are usually internal sensationsâ€?? Nate Nettleton, A Physical Representation of Relief, Sculpture, 2016. 122 cm x 51 cm x 3 cm. Image courtesy of the artist. Ottawa, Canada. natenettletonart.com
Studio Visit: Alexander Buzzalini
Alexander Buzzaliniâ€™s home - studio in Hamtramck, 2016. Instant film color, 4 3/4 x 3 1/4 inches. From studio visit. Detroit, MI.
A: What does it mean to be an artist for you? Alex Buzzalini: It means is a blessing and a curse at the same time...[Laughing] which ever way you want to look at it, I think it means, you have something to say that you want people to hear, regardless what it is. And, using art as a mean to express that, some people do it other ways. A: When I see your work, I feel they are sketches that later become paintings, or that they are right in the line. AB: Yeah. I don’t work from photographs, I work from smaller drawings and I composed everything all at once, and revise in canvas, and I add, and subtract.. until I get what I want.. I don’t always know what that is in the beginning, I have an idea. A: Do you feel your paintings say everything you want them to tell? AB: I feel like I am saying enough. A: Are you saying it all? AB: I don’t know, I never thought about it that deeply. And this is why, because I had a friend who had this saying “ you can put underwear over your art” like your private pieces are always showing. In your art you can’t hide your
Buzzalini’s workbench in studio front living area, 2016. Instant film color, 4 3/4 x 3 1/4 inches. From studio visit. Detroit, MI.
underwear, you know, its always exposed, exposing who you are, everything to the public to see. So hearing that and in that respect like I don’t consciously I don’t really think about it. If its going to be there, its going to be there. A: What drives you to make work, and so much? AB: I don’t know, I can’t stop..[Laugh] Have you always been in this studio painting and, in this room we are right now? AB: Not, always, I move around different studios throughout the year, last year at this time, I was working at the Butter Project in Royal Oak, I was there for 4 months, and then I was working at the church for a couple for months in the Summer, and after that I was working in Nancy Mitchnick’s studio after she finished her show for MOCAD, she went on vacation, so I was in there for about 2 or 3 months, and this is where I ended up. A: I noticed your brought your cactus in, is that because of Winter is coming? AB: Yeah, I don’t want it to died out there [Laughing] I’ve got to bring the plants inside, even if they’re fake. AB: Do you want to see this one horizontally? A: Yeah
Cactus and Cloud study, painting, 2016. 14.5 x 17.3 in. Acrylic, crayon, cheese cloth.
AB: Now it makes sense right? A: Hmm, is a pretty skinny cow.. AB: Really you think so? The ribs arenâ€™t showing..[Laughing] A: Is skinny in some areas. AB: Maybe is a little skinny.. A: So, can you tell me geographically, where is this cow situated? AB: In the frontier. [Beep,beep, beep. The sound of a Polaroid camera running out of film] ____________________ Alexander Buzzalini (American, b. 1990) is a contemporary visual artist living and working in Hamtramck, MI. Buzzalini primarily uses imagery and objects inspired from the American mythology of the Wild West; to paint, draw, and create sculptures that are often perceived as silly and trivial. Buzzalini received his degree in 2013 from Wayne State University.
Alexander Buzzalini, Old Paint, hobby horse, 2015. Performance. Instant film color, 4 3/4 x 3 1/4 inches. From studio visit, 2016.
Red Ox No.1, painting, 2016. 17 x 24 in. Acrylic, crayon. Image courtesy of the artist.
Krysti Spence Krysti and I met at Vinsetta Garage for dinner last Fall; and while we ate, we talk a about her art practice. She brought a binder with her work, and while we browsed through her collection of photorealistic paintings, she said to me “... I also have these sheets; this is how I keep track of shows and my sales...” And I immediately gravitated, and suggested to her that, I’d like to use them for a piece I wanted to have in the magazine. At fist she hesitated, but after I explained to her that I was interested in understanding how artists develop new works, and at the same time, the way artists function in their privacy of their studios. She happily agreed. And so the rest of our conversation surrounded the structures of administrative tasks that she performs as an artist. Bellow we can see a picture of her studio in Detroit.
Krysti Spence’s Proof Sheet, digitally scanned, 2016. Inkjet prints on Canon Matte photo paper, 8.5 x 11 in. Images courtesy of the Artist. Detroit, MI. Studio photo by Michael McGillis.
..I think done is being successful.
Krysti Spenceâ€™s Proof Sheet, digitally scanned, 2016. Inkjet prints on Canon Matte photo paper, 8.5 x 11 in. Images courtesy of the Artist. Detroit, MI.
Krysti Spence grew up in Detroit’s nearby suburbs and developed her lifelong interest in the arts at an early age. She attended Eastern Michigan University and earned a BFA with a concentration in photography. For the next twenty years, she worked within the professional photography sphere, while keeping an active connection to the art world. After experiencing dissatisfaction with photography’s transition from the darkroom to the computer screen, she felt a need to explore new mediums. Mastering painting had always been on her to-do list, so she invested in a set of oils, checked out some books from the library, and proceeded to teach herself to paint. Her approach is motivated by a connection to certain aspects of photorealism, so photography continues to be a substantial component in most of her artistic process. She currently lives and works in Metro Detroit.
Krysti Spence’s Proof Sheet, digitally scanned, 2016. Inkjet prints on Canon Matte photo paper, 8.5 x 11 in. Images courtesy of the Artist. Detroit, MI.
Studio Visit: Elijah Ford Elijah Fordâ€™s studio in Hamtramck, 2016. Digital photograph. From studio visit. Note: As of the Spring of 2017, Elijah has return to California.
Elijah Fordâ€™s current work explores the way loving friendships and fleeting memories can interact within a portrait. This California Native received his B.A. in Painting from Cal State San Bernardino in 2011 and his MFA from California Institute of the Arts in 2014. A month after graduating from CalArts he moved to Detroit, knowing little about the city but believing it was the right place to start his art career. His first step on his Detroit journey began with One Custom City in the Talking Dolls studio where he learned to screen print. Soon enough, his scope of work expanded to include artists and institutions like Nancy Mitchnick, Chris Schanck, Complex Movements, and MOCAD. He now works out of Klinger studios, in Hamtramck, Michigan. * See note bellow
Jamie and Sharon/210w, painting, 2016. 60 x 41.5 x 1.5 in. Image courtesy of the artist. elijahford.com
Swam/8w, painting, 72 x 72 in, 2016. Image courtesy of the artist.
How do you modify alternative reality in your paintings, and why do you do it? I value the vibrancy friends can bring to any moment, we enrich each otherâ€™s life just by exchanging empathy and live energy. Like flying down a surreal freeway, not expecting anything from the destination, for the ride exceptionally satisfying. The work is a collection of memories overlapping in a disorienting perspective and intense, varying color creating an everlasting representation of a bond. I wanted to stage the paintings to have a physical effect on the viewer so they can absorb a piece of love and happiness I have received in their memory. I acknowledge paintings spiritual power to live beyond the
artist, for me to reach accurate representation of multiple plains in time it was necessary to alter the reality within the image. I modify the reality as an attempt to make superior work far from a traditional portrait, revealing it had been through well-resolved transformations. The reality of the mortality of my relationships is washed over layer after layer so my friendship can be enjoyed and internalized by the viewer and affirmed for my well being, securing my future.
Luis/210e, painting, 36 x 60 in, 2016. Oil in canvas. Image courtesy of the artist.
Arielle Stein My work is an exploration of personal and communal identity. My perspective is informed by Jewish folklore and mythology approached from a feminist angle. I mine historical and contemporary texts for characters and stories eclipsed by patriarchy, drawing them into conversation with the political present. I construct a universe of female and non-normative bodies, emphasizing
these characters as subjects with agency. These bodies are sites of confrontation. At times irreverent, I explore sexuality, taboo and the abject using a combination of outrage and humor. I aim to combine the personal and political, with the imaginary and profane.
Arielle Stein, Tell Me Again, 2017. Colored Pencil on Paper, 12 x 16 in. Image courtesy of the artist. Brooklyn, New York. ariellesteinstudio.com Instagram: @RELSTEIN
David Paul Downs These recent works speak of a need to understand my relationship with the world both inside and outside of my body. Iâ€™ve chosen objects and scenery that are subconsciously linked to real life events, but are abstracted and juxtaposed like constructs within a dream.
David Paul Downs, Untitled, 2017. Oil, acrylic, spray, 56 x 54 in. Image courtesy of the artist. Chicago, Illinois. www.davidpauldowns.com
David Paul Downs, Untitled, 2017. Oil, acrylic, spray, 56 x 54 in. Image courtesy of the artist. Chicago, Illinois. www.davidpauldowns.com
David Paul Downs, Untitled, 2017. Oil, acrylic, spray, 56 x 54 in. Image courtesy of the artist. Chicago, Illinois. www.davidpauldowns.com
David Paul Downs, Three, 2017. Oil, acrylic, spray, 55 x 54 in. Image courtesy of the artist. Chicago, Illinois. www.davidpauldowns.com
David Paul Downs, Thanksgiving Pie, 2016. Oil, acrylic, and spray on canvas, 26 x 32 in. Image courtesy of the artist. Chicago, Illinois. www.davidpauldowns.com
Barbed Magazine is a contemporary art magazine based in the greater Detroit metro area. Its exclusive content features artists who work and live in the region as well as those living in cities at the US-Canada border. Barbed was founded in September 2014 with the purpose of promoting artists and their work, especially emerging and minority artists. The magazine was inspired by frequent discussions about the shortage of exposure opportunities, gallery spaces, and muted conversations that inhibit artists at the beginning stages of their careers. Today, Barbed is a blended publication consisting of artistsâ€™ notes, performance art, food interactions, interviews, and socially engaged, inspired, experimental, and confessional art. Barbed Magazine is produced in limited edition quantities and printed twice annually, in the spring and winter. Barbed is a proud member of the W.A.G.E. Coalition, a growing group of artists, art workers and arts organizations that share Barbedâ€™s goal of building a sustainable business model in which artists are paid for their work. W.A.G.E. (Working Artists and the Greater Economy) is a New York-based activist organization focused on regulating the payment of artist fees by nonprofit art institutions and establishing a sustainable labor relation between artists and the institutions that contract our work.
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Jetshri Bhadviya, The Emancipation, 2016-2017. Digital Inkjet prints. 60 x 90 in. Image courtesy of the artist.
Published on Jun 28, 2017