Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program

Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program

20 Jay Street

Glenn Goldberg. Photograph by Brad Ogbonna.

The 2019-2021 Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program artists share a behind-the-scenes look into their work and process in a virtual Open Studios on thestudioprogram.com.

Additionally, to see more from the current artists, please join us on May 14 at 1 PM with the Brooklyn Rail as a part of the Rail’s ongoing New Social Environments series. The artists will discuss their art practices with Brooklyn Rail Publisher & Artistic Director Phong H. Bui.

Artists

Yasi Alipour uses paper and intricate folds to explore systems of math and history. In her series “As Dreams Become History,” for example, Alipour asked Iranian friends born after the revolution to share second-hand memories of that decade shared by family and older friends. These texts she paired with sheets of paper printed with black ink and then folded into geometric tessellations referencing Middle Eastern abstraction. Her research-based practice spans sculpture, installation, performance, drawing, writing, lectures, and experimentation and probes personal history to parse issues around political instability and interrupted histories. Her artistic practice is founded on the lived experience of a Middle Eastern queer and a citizen with a politically unhinged society and an interrupted history.

Patricia Ayres’ practice combines her background in fashion design with sculpture—drawing on themes of transgression, punishment, and confinement. Using familial histories involving the structures and symbols of organized religion and the US penal system, Ayres analyzes how the body may be constrained physically and psychologically. She makes anthropomorphic, totemic sculptures from fabric strips wrapped around foam and batting that point to Joseph Beuys, Arte Povera, Eva Hesse, Doris Salcedo, and more. In addition, Ayres combines found furniture and elements of industrial design—wheels, tables, handrails—to create uncanny sculptures that undo the standards of the built environment. In addition to her work referencing the constraint of the individual human body, Ayres has realized a series of octagonal floor sculptures that reference the panopticon and collective architectures of control and punishment. Throughout her practice, Ayres draws on the methods and materials of fashion to pair them with industrial design and architecture to imagine the nuanced layers of human enclosure.

Dana Buhl is an artist working in original and found imagery, objects, and video. Her work is a continuous examination of the lines between picture, image, and information, bringing together various materials to be recycled, reconfigured, and represented. Buhl forms new meanings and new orders through the relationships that shift in each new installation, delicately weaving connections between images and objects that lead viewers to contemplate the invisible systems, both natural and man-made, from which the material images are sourced. For example, in her recent installation of the ongoing project Technical Comfort, Buhl included an image of soot billowing from a volcano, a grainy image of a hand that appearing to be taken from an advertisement, and a plastic spray bottle, intended to evoke slow time (such as geological development) and fast time (i.e. technological development). With a stern eye towards extreme environmental change, Technical Comfort stares into the apocalyptic future seeking to picture the uncomfortable relationship between the natural world and technology including its effects on human labor both visible and invisible.

John Edmonds is an American artist and photographer who first came to public recognition with his intimate portraits of lovers, close friends and strangers. He is most noted for his highly formalist photographs in which he focuses on the performative gestures and self-fashioning of young black men on the streets of America. Making Black queer collectivity and self-awareness central to his work, Edmonds explores the aesthetic possibilities of intimacy and desire. Incorporating everyday items of adornment and preservation while also juxtaposing these objects with sacred and spiritual sculptures from Central and West Africa, the artist has developed a distinct approach to photography as a critical tool for engaging with personal and collective history, commemorating the past and continually reshaping the present and future. Edmonds’ practice draws upon art historical representations of portraiture and figuration while expanding its roster to include individuals of his own creative community in New York and beyond.

Jonathan Paul Gilette is a painter who works in series. Rather than focusing on repetition itself, his practice is an effort to see how the first in a series appears among its counterparts. For this work, Gilette paints the same subject ten, twelve, sixteen times over. Each painting shifts in small ways—angle, focus, color, execution—creating a coherent, yet ultimately meaningless, collection of works. His subject matter includes traditional still lives, saccharine landscapes, religious iconography, airbrush sports fields, and nonrepresentational fields of color or pattern. His works point to fine art hierarchies around painting and representation and challenge the auratic art object as much as its revered subjects.

Glenn Goldberg is a painter whose work deals with icons and characters, expressed in dialogue with the decorative arts. Goldberg views his paintings as colorful liquids applied to a piece of cloth, rather than paint on canvas, using repeating patterns, overlapping grids, and simplified geometric forms to heighten the connection to textiles and the decorative arts. His most well-known subjects—birds, dogs, flowers, and cells—appear in pared-down iconographic form, and share space in absurd and disorienting ways that challenge three-dimensional pictorial space. For example, compositions include absurd pairings such as a bird riding the back of a dog or a duck sitting on a person’s head, and physically impossible scenarios such as two identical people approaching one another or two people of incommensurate size sitting together. All of these situations imply circumstances that are both familiar and require the realm of the imagination and embody complexity, awkwardness, and vibrancy. Some scenes are peaceful, quiet, and idealized, while others are charged psychologically and contain personal narratives, mystery, or discomfort.

Buhm Hong explores memory through a multidisciplinary practice including video, sculpture, installation, and drawing. His work is multi-layered, with a focus on exposing the structure of memories in the three-dimensional world. The relationship between memory and place is at the core of Hong’s work, which he evokes through dreamlike grayscale drawings of pared-down interiors, animations of the same projected large onto interior spaces, and installations of intertwined geometric assemblages that suggest deconstructed architectural spaces. Hong’s interiors are sparse, only including details such as walls, ceilings, windows, doors, or staircases, thus giving a dreamlike feeling that one could be both anywhere and nowhere at the same time. While his interiors remain closed and agoraphobic, other drawings and installations by the artist suggest infinite constellations and mazes in the sky, wandering off to as far as the imagination will allow. In his upcoming work, Hong continues to explore his multi-channel interior projections that merge together past, present, and future in a single space and moment.

Anthony Iacono’s interdisciplinary studio practice consists of video, sculpture, photography, artist books, and most recently, painted collages inspired by printmaking techniques. His work recontextualizes quotidian objects, reconfiguring fruit, plants, and curtains to replace their original functions with those of physical pleasure and perversity. His collages are often a mix of portraiture and still life, depicting torsos cropped at the neck, thighs, crotch, or forehead arranged with artfully placed inanimate objects, such as a pants hanger clipped to nipples, a thorny rose clamped between buttocks, or a shrimp cocktail delicately balanced on a reclining nude. His tight and controlled collage process heightens the intensity and humor of each image, keeping combined elements in arresting and surreal contrast. Iacono’s work brings themes of fetish and queer culture in relationship to mundane nuances of the everyday, both normalizing the salacious and revealing what is hidden within the mundane.

Case Jernigan is an artist working in drawing, collage, and animation, all of which merge together in his own unique form of storytelling. Jernigan’s ink line drawings show groups of robots, machines, super heroes, animals, office workers, prehistoric and mythological creatures, and more, collaged together in unlikely narrative scenarios. The artist’s lightboxes bring collaged color to his illustrations, with apocalyptic scenes that suggestively mix timelines between alien landings, tall ships approaching beaches, tanks surrounding horse-drawn carriages, or comets hurtling towards dinosaurs and highways; all of his compositions work to undermine the singularity of common narratives around climate change and civilization’s impending doom. Jernigan’s animations show a more personal side: coming-of-age stories, personal political identities, and a deep love for soccer. Jernigan grew up by the sea in Charleston, SC, and is a sucker for nostalgia, iconic sports heroes, monsters and mythology.

Tom McGlynn is an artist, writer, and independent curator. McGlynn works primarily in painting, creating abstract geometric compositions from carefully balanced and colorful rectangles. To arrive at his compositions, McGlynn morphs commercial signage into minimalist, abstract arrangements of color. For McGlynn, this process is less about the logic of reducing commercial signs to their constituent simplified forms, but of coming to these forms lodge themselves in a shared consciousness and memory. McGlynn explores subconscious and its effect as primary gestalt in form and color, positing that commercial and pop consciousness is not only determined by the media we’re presented with. In his work, McGlynn imagines Minimalism as what critic Peter Plagens termed “imageless pop,” not so much a non-referential reduction of form and content, simply one removed of syntactical signifiers.

Nicholas Moenich creates paintings, drawings, sculptures, and installations that defy logical pictorial space through repetition of geometric forms. Moenich’s grayscale paintings and drawings take on M.C. Escher-like challenges of building architectural space that is both flat and dimensional, as twisting pipes, cracked surfaces, and wooden scaffolding swap figure and ground, up and down. From these spaces, cartoon figures emerge, such as cats, mushrooms, super heros, snakes and jewels. Moenich’s work borrows from art history, mythology, punk rock, and science fiction to create eerie psychological spaces. His complex and personal formal language is situated between figuration and abstraction—creating paintings that simultaneously possess material presence and pictorial space full of sinister humor. For Moenich, the fragmented compositions of the paintings are direct metaphors of the twenty-first century’s hyper-stimulated daily life of interconnecting media.

Avery Z. Nelson makes bold, colorful paintings that explore the feeling of being in a body. Each painting has its own strong color palette, from which hands, arms, breasts, and faces emerge, intertwining as if from one and many bodies simultaneously. In Nelson’s compositions, insides become outsides and outsides insides, as architectural spaces that defy physics make space for bodies that defy traditional binary understandings of gender. Painted in bright, metallic palettes, their work combines figurative, abstract, and symbolic visual language, examining the resulting contradictions, fragmentation, and tension of juxtaposing divergent forms of representation. Most recently, Nelson has been working on a series of paintings about the (im)possibility of fully inhabiting their own fluidly gendered body; a body that exists outside of the constructed, normative, male/female binary. 

TARWUK (Bruno Pogacnik Tremow & Ivana Vukšic) are a collaborative duo from Croatia who have been working together since 2014. They make sculptures and installations that conjure unknown rituals and traumatic scenes of war and devastation. They use a range of materials—wax, rope, pigments, wood, plaster—to evoke the feeling of having just stumbled on a story whose totality will never be told. Their installations invite projection and prediction, allowing the viewer to imagine their own narratives. Their works challenge assumptions by imposing personal, speculative stories that create a complex and generative system of meaning, materializing their personal histories into objects. For Tremow and Vukšic, “work and life… are one.” Their work reflects their upbringing, first in socialist Yugoslavia and later in post-socialist Croatia. They were raised in a war zone, with our families and our houses being torn apart. They seek to challenge the mechanisms and assumptions of society by imposing intensely personal speculative fabulations as possible alternatives.

Jason Saager makes sprawling landscape paintings and monoprints that drift between surrealism, illustration, and early American folk painting. Their flattened rendering challenge of one-point-perspective space allows for multiple layers of landscape, texture, and narrative to play out at the same time. In one composition, rigid triangles of blue sky form mountains against a cloudy backdrop; in another, plains and hills collapse under the edge of a golden sunset against a grove of trees. Saager describes his work as “littered with scientific falsehoods, nonsense, and roads leading to nowhere,” where “absurd perspectives multiply, immutable natural laws become optional, and artificial habitats drift into alien territory.” This fantastical approach to landscape suggests worlds future, past, and only to be imagined, evoking the planetary landscapes of science fiction films and novels, where different laws of weather, physics, and relations apply. Saager’s upended landscapes dovetail importantly with a time when collective understandings of humans, nature, and their relationships are constantly upturned.  

Mira Schor is a painter. Her works simultaneously depict language, the materiality of painting, and the feeling of being embodied in relation to both. In her immediately language-based works, a single word such as “flesh,” or “thing,” or simply “a” (possibly objet petit a) fills the modest canvas in simple script, trembling outwards into the contrasting color ground behind it. Her paintings of bodies vary from narrative to abstract: for example, seven orange pensises growing ears, a cartoon-like figures placed in space with speech bubbles illuminating their characters, or a vagina between or formed by punctuation marks. Schor’s current work focuses on the experience of living in a moment of radical inequality, austerity, and accelerated time, set against the powerful pull of older notions of time, craft, and visual pleasure. She works at the intersection of politic and theory and is noted for her for her contributions to feminist art history.

Don Voisine is a painter working with architecture and abstraction. Using wood panels or Styrofoam as a canvas, Voisine divides his paintings into bands of color that flank the edges of the composition, and black shapes that rotate against white backgrounds, suggesting rooms twisting rooms, architectural details, or textile designs. Voisine began his current body of work starting from floor plans he collected from places he lived or worked. From here, he expanded his visual vocabulary to more abstract forms that still evoke the feeling of being constrained or directed within architectural space. His paintings vary in size, from a few inches to a few feet, and play between languages of decoration, design, and architecture. As Voisine says, “Architecture  a language of space  delineates boundaries, exposes points of access, exit or entry, and enables the user to interact with the structure of a defined space. This simple vernacular of architecture informs my paintings.”