Wednesday, May 23, 2012

MaDora Frey's Studio Visit: May 11, 2012 by damali abrams

MaDora Frey is taking everyday objects and creating breathtaking photos with them.

MaDora walked me through her website, where her new body of work consists of photos of found objects such as shattered mirrors, concrete and fabric. Through her process of photographing these items and creating mirror images of them, she has found a way to make man-made objects look organic and to make elements from nature appear architectural. The images seem complex but the process is very simple. MaDora calls these images Rorschachs and if the pieces seem to resemble one thing too much, she alters them in some way.

MaDora photographs these objects outdoors and feels liberated that she is able to move away from he usual practice of painting in the studio and get outside into nature. Terms she uses to describe her work include intangible spirituality, kaleidoscopes, otherworldly, slick and glassy.

For the upcoming Collectively Assembled exhibit, I suggested that MaDora pursue her idea to turn these pieces into sculptures. As Anna Lise challenged me to create work using dance and large scale installation, I passed the challenge onto MaDora to allow herself to work in another discipline.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

damali abrams' studio visit, May 2nd, 2012, by Anna Lise Jensen

I recorded my visit with damali and you can listen to it here. We looked at texts she had just submitted to Push, The Zine and diary readings she was editing for upcoming exhibition at Spattered Columns. And damali told me about work she makes but doesn't show that relates to longstanding passions of hers, I never knew about: dancing, choreography, collage and the work of Romare Bearden. This hidden work of damali's is what I picked for Collectively Assembled.  When Petra Valentova visited me, I had just returned from a community garden visit with a fellow artist and friend, Michael Wilson, and this inspired her to suggest outdoor audio installations and cross-polinating gardens in terms of food and people. Quite a mouthful as I have never done outdoor audio but also exciting suggestions.  Listening to damali's hesitations about showing certain work, I thought of Petra's brainstorm of my behalf and this influenced my choice: as a support structure, our collective can offer encouragement and a safe environment to explore work we're itching to do but at times have been told we shouldn't. Petra and I were able to wrap up my studio-visit going out for lunch but I didn't have time for that when visiting damali. In stead I managed to bring the driest cakes ever but luckily damali had red velvet cakes waiting that went well with the non-dry beers I also brought. I'm sharing this tidbit for future studio-visitors as it's so enjoyable to be able to spend time together doing a studio-visit, and combining visit with food and a drink simply adds one more enjoyable dimension.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Anna Lise Jensen's Studio Visit: April 21, 2012 @ JCAL - A chain link visit by Petra Valentova

I met with Anna Lise at the Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning (JCAL) where we are both participating in a tART exhibition, Collectivity: Art Making in a Collective. During my visit I saw her current work as well as her work from 2004, a series of portraits by herself and students at K’ipay, a school for the mentally disabled in Bogota, Colombia. At the JCAL she exhibits large print from new series as well as a page that lists events she’s organized in connection with the JCAL exhibition. In her new work Anna Lise explores the Jamaica neighborhood in Queens, with a focus on the writer Paul Bowles who was born and raised  in Jamaica (Queens). Later in his life he  traveled the World and choose Tangiers, Morocco, as his new home. Both Anna Lise and I grow up in another country and choose NYC as our new home. Relocation is our every day reality and in many ways an inspiration for our work.  Anna Lise grew up in Denmark, me in Czech. During our talk Ann Lise expIained that she found interesting how we at times are blind to the the parts of our own place of origin that makes it attractive to visitors, travelers and transplants. In her new work she translates relocation thru a process: first she chose text from Bowles writing on Tangiers and juxtaposed it with photographs she made in the places related to his time in Jamaica. Here, her chosen Bowles quote on Tangiers, placed under an image of an idealized Forsythia branch by Jamaica High School that he attended, states: "it is delightful, too, to step out into the silent moonlit street". Although I didn´t translate the photo as being done in monolite, I loved both the image and the text.

On her note of listed activities, hung between above mentioned image and the K’ipay portraits, is a collaboration with the 50 Cent Community Garden in Jamaica and Michael Wilson, an artist she met through an open call at tART’s last exhibition (at Arts@Renaissance, Brooklyn.) She introduced Michael Wilson to the three original founders of the garden in Jamaica, and while he’s making a portrait of them, she is recording her conversation with the gardeners for an audio piece. At the closing for the JCAL exhibition, she will reveal Michael’s portrait to the gardeners and hang it on the wall where her Bowles image is now - by then this series will exist as a book. At the end of the JCAL exhibition, Anna Lise, together with the gardeners and Michael Wilson will organize in the gallery a Garden Salad picnic, where she will serve produce from the community garden,  and celebrate. This event will be  open to all.

For tART’s Collectively Assembled exhibition in 2013, I like the idea of Anna Lise’s Garden Salad picnic. I would also like to see her to create an audio piece focusing both on the Jamaica gardeners as well as on local community gardeners near the JCAL. Ideally, I would like to have these audios installed in both gardens, even if just temporarily. It would also be wonderful to throw in some summer picnics with the help of local products from both gardens. This also links our studio-visits: in my own studio visit with Katerina Lanfranco, I showed my yellow duck – a sculpture that is directly linked to Anna Lise’s beloved community gardens. In 2010, I proposed it for her project A Lot of Possibilities, and she showed my duck proposal at her WinterSpace, along with other artists’ proposals for NYC community gardens. Based on her recommendation,  I applied for and received a Queens Art Council grant to realize the duck. This year, it will go into a community garden in Long Island City. The curious links between Anna Lise and me now include studio visits, a huge duck and a community garden salad. Yummy.