ART TODAY: 2000–Present

August 9, 2015–December 13, 2015

Hung Liu, Relic 12, 2005, Oil on canvas and lacquered wood, 66 x66 in., New Britain Museum of American Art

The New Britain Museum of American Art’s construction of a new wing has given the Museum a unique opportunity to reassess the layout of our galleries and significantly increase the artworks from our permanent collection on view.

As part of the transition to our new, expanded facility, we are very excited to unveil the revamped McKernan Gallery in late summer, which will now showcase contemporary art from 2000 to the present and a larger New Media & Digital Media space. The 3,000 sq. ft. gallery will allow the Museum to display over 30 works of art in a wide range of media, from Nobu Fukui’s complex collage Incredulity, 2013, to glass masterpieces such as K. William LeQuier’s Confluence, 2011. The establishment of a gallery focused solely on 21st century art will allow the Museum to expand and enhance its contemporary arts educational activities and present our visitors with a wide range of powerful and intriguing art from today’s finest artists.

Hung Liu

Hung Liu was born in Changchun, China in 1948, growing up under the Maoist regime. Initially trained in the Socialist Realist style, Liu studied mural painting as a graduate student at the Central Academy of Fine Art in Beijing, before immigrating to the US in 1984 to attend the University of California, San Diego, where she studied under Allan Kaprow, the American originator of Happenings.

Known for paintings based on historical Chinese photographs, Hung Liu’s subjects over the years have been prostitutes, refugees, street performers, soldiers, laborers, and prisoners, among others. As a painter, Liu challenges the documentary authority of historical Chinese photographs by subjecting them to the more reflective process of painting. Much of the meaning of Liu’s painting comes from the way the washes and drips dissolve the documentary images, suggesting the passage of memory into history, while working to uncover the cultural and personal narratives fixed – but often concealed – in the photographic instant. Washing her subjects in veils of dripping linseed oil, she both ”preserves and destroys the image.” Liu has invented a kind of weeping realism that surrenders to the erosion of memory and the passage of time, while also bringing faded photographic images vividly to life as rich, facile paintings. She summons the ghosts of history to the present. In effect, Liu turns old photographs into new paintings.

A two time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in painting, Liu also received a Lifetime Achievement Award in Printmaking from the Southern Graphics Council International in 2011. A retrospective of Liu’s work, ”Summoning Ghosts: The Art and Life of Hung Liu,” was recently organized by the Oakland Museum of California, and is scheduled to tour nationally through 2015. In a review of that show, the Wall Street Journal called Liu ”the greatest Chinese painter in the US.” Liu’s works have been exhibited extensively and collected by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco, and the Los Angeles County Museum, among others. Liu currently lives in Oakland, California. She is Professor Emerita at Mills College, where she has taught since 1990.

Nobu Fukui

Fukui’s work reads as non-objective painting at a distance, yet on closer observation intrigues with surprising imagery that suggests narrative. The eye plays across the surface of his work as if watching a video game in giddy visual delight. Paint, collage, three-dimensional beads: these are some of the ingredients of this exciting work. Benjamin Genocchio in the New York Times wrote: “In fact, some works are so densely layered that they are a bit like bubbling cauldrons of imagery. It is part Pop Art, part potpourri…“

Fukui’s work makes brilliant use of the instant recognition of iconic popular imagery: a shorthand for the tropes of our daily lives gathered from art magazines, anime and cartoons, news, and popular culture. And in this new series he uses many distinctly American archetypes. There has always been a push-pull in Fukui’s collage-based paintings of the last few years – a sensation of almost falling into the celestial spaces of the early series, or of being drawn in to the densely packed imagery of his Art in America or Superheroes series. In this quicktime of social media our shorthand of texting and images accelerates.

Some of these new works include focal points which draw the attention of the viewer in like a vortex. Fukui’s distinctly fresh approach creates a kind of Pollock-like frenzy of color, re-inventing action painting with a Hadron Collider of images.

Fukui has always grounded his collage paintings in a first layer of newspaper which he leaves visible, wrapped around the sides of the work. This grounds his work in the quotidian texts and visuals of our daily lives – the currency of exchange – the detritus of the collective unconscious that has become ever more universal in the social networks of our contemporary life.

Born in Japan, Nobu Fukui lives and works in New York.

Lalla Essaydi

Lalla Essaydi’s career as an artist has encompassed painting, mixed media, and video, but recently she has devoted herself to photography, and to sumptuous explorations of the image of woman in Islamic society.

Essaydi was raised in Morocco and spent many years in Saudi Arabia, and although she was educated in Europe and the United States, this experience of traditional Islamic life was fundamental in shaping her. Her first major photographic series to explore this was Converging Territories (2002-4), which depicted Islamic women and children in an unoccupied house where Essaydi was once confined for long spells as a child, whenever she was disobedient. The series which followed this, Les Femmes du Maroc (2005-7), expanded this further, exploring the charged rhetoric of veiling and revealing which surrounds Islamic women.

Essaydi’s photography provides a contemporary reflection on an iconography that stretches at least as far back as the Orientalist imagery of nineteenth century artists such as Ingres, Delacroix, and Gérôme. The women in Les Femmes du Maroc are entirely enveloped in Islamic calligraphy – writing, applied in henna, which adorns their skin, their robes, and the interiors that surround them. The text seems to entrap the women, and yet it is a form of decoration which marks some of the happiest and most significant moments of an Islamic woman’s life. More recently Essaydi has produced a series of pictures in a former harem in Morocco, often swathing her subjects in robes which closely echo the decorative tiles that wall the complex. “In my art,“ Essaydi says, “I wish to present myself through multiple lenses -- as artist, as Moroccan, as Saudi, as traditionalist, as Liberal, as Muslim. In short, I invite the viewer to resist stereotypes.“

Lalla Essaydi lives in New York. Selections from her series Les Femmes du Maroc were published by powerHouse Books in 2009. Recent exhibitions of her work have been staged at Williams College Museum, Williamstown, Mass.; and the Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio. Her work is represented in the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago; Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and many others.

Walton Ford

Walton Ford (American, b.1960) is a painter who uses watercolors to create large-scale paintings influenced by the style of John James Audubon and other artists from the Naturalist Illustration Movement. Ford’s paintings include jokes, symbols, and clues referenced from colonial literature; these works have a rich, accurate, and meticulous display of flora and fauna. Ford was born in Larchmont, NY, and began to draw with his brother, Enfield, when he was young. Later, Ford studied Fine Arts at the Rhode Island School of Design, in Providence, RI, where he attained a BFA degree in 1982. He married Julie Jones, and they moved to New York in 1983.

Ford’s paintings critique the history of politics, natural science, and industrialism using complex narratives. He pioneered the art of creating large-scale multi-layered etchings, which many people confuse for paintings because they are so meticulously done. Some of Ford’s works include Pancha Tantra, painted in 2008, and I Don’t Like to Look at Him, Jack, painted in 2011. Ford’s paintings often integrate the usual and the surreal, expressing his own understanding of how we view animals, and exaggerating their human qualities. His paintings, which portray a descriptive style similar to 19th century naturalists such as Karl Bodmer, can measure over 8 by 12 feet. Ford is characterized among modern day painters of the Naturalist Illustration Movement, and his paintings are known for their sharp critique of how humanity treats nature.

Ford has received various national honors and awards for his work in the Naturalist Illustration Movement, including the National Endowment for the Arts and a fellowship from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. In 2006, Ford exhibited his first series of paintings in a solo exhibition at the Brooklyn Museum, in New York. Ford attributes his passion for drawing and painting to the inspiration he receives from the work of Giotto di Bondone. Ford has collaborated with Taschen Books to produce his large-scale layout monograph Pancha Tantra.

In 2011, Ford held a midcareer retrospective traveling between the Hamburger Bahnhof Museum Für Gegenwart in Berlin, Germany, to the Albertina in Vienna, Austria, and then to the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Denmark. Ford’s work can be viewed at the Whitney Museum of American Art at Champion, in Stamford, CT, and the Bowdoin College Museum of Art in Brunswick, ME. After living in New York with his family for over a decade, Ford relocated his studio to Great Barrington, MA, where he currently lives with his family.

Ike Ude

With his ongoing photographic self-portraits, Sartorial Anarchy, dressed in varied costumes across geography and time the work of Nigerian-born Iké Udé explores a world of dualities: photographer/performance artist, artist/spectator, African/postnationalist, mainstream/marginal, individual/everyman and fashion/art. As a Nigerian born, New York based artist, conversant with the world of fashion and celebrity, Udé gives conceptual aspects of performance and representation a new vitality, melding his own theatrical selves and multiple personae with his art. Udé plays with the ambiguities of the marketplace and art world, particularly in his seminal art, culture, and fashion magazine, aRUDE and recently his style blog, theCHIC INDEX.

Beyond Decorum (MIT Press, 2000), accompanied a traveling exhibition—organized by Mark Besire, then director of the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art, in Portland, Maine—was the first comprehensive publication on Udé’s photography. The book contains photographs of the installations “Beyond Decorum“, “Uses of Evidence“, and “Project Rear“; several series, including Cover Girls, Uli, and Celluloid; and photographs from his magazine aRUDE. The book also includes essays by Kobena Mercer, Aimee Bessire, Valerie Steele, and Iké Udé himself, as well as an interview with the artist. The reader meets Udé the artist, editor, dandy, and aesthete. In his writing, Udé speaks of the futility of stereotypes, and in his photography, he brings to life the image of the artist in a plenitude of guises.

Style File is a remarkable volume that profiles more than 55 of the most influential arbiters of style in the world today. With a foreword by Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at F.I.T., and an introduction by Harold Koda, curator-in-charge of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, this beautifully designed book provides an intimate perspective on these unique and influential men and women, offering frank insight to their views on fashion and life through evocative interviews and lush photography. Included among the many notable designers, artists, and public figures are John Galliano, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Isabel and Ruben Toledo, Victoire de Castellane, André Leon Talley, Dita Von Teese, Ute Lemper, Francesco Clemente, Christian Louboutin, Diane von Furstenberg, Lapo Elkann, Frédéric Malle, and many others.

His work is in the permanent collections of Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, the Smithsonian Museum of Art, Sheldon Museum, RISD Museum, New Britain Museum of American Art, Minneapolis Institute of Arts and in many private collections; exhibited in solo and group exhibitions; reviewed in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Art in America, Flash Art, Art News and such. His articles on fashion and art have been published in magazines and newspapers worldwide.

Atta Kim

In Korean photographer Atta Kim’s work, New York City vanishes, tiny nudes appear beside mountains, and contorted figures defy gravity. His photographs manage to be both conceptually and visually thrilling—glass boxes, long exposures, and archetypal settings offer new perspectives on human institutions and relationships.

Atta Kim was born in Korea in 1956. He graduated from Changwon University with a bachelor’s degree and has been actively photographing since the mid-1980s. He has had solo shows at the International Center of Photography, New York; Yossi Milo Gallery, New York; Samsung Photo Gallery, Seoul; the Nikon Salon Gallery, Tokyo; and the Yechong Gallery, Seoul. His work has been included in numerous group exhibitions, including shows at the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago; the Odens Foto Triennale in Odens, Denmark; the Australian Centre for Photography; the 25th São Paolo Bienal; and FotoFest in Houston. His publications include The Museum Project (Aperture Foundation) and a catalog, including an interview with the artist by ICP Curator Christopher Phillips. Atta Kim currently lives and works in Seoul and New York.

Radcliffe Bailey

Radcliffe Bailey is a painter, sculptor, and mixed media artist who utilizes the layering of imagery, culturally resonant materials, and text to explore themes of ancestry, race, and memory. Bailey believes that by translating his personal experiences, he can achieve an understanding of, and a healing from, a universal history. His work is often made from found materials and certain pieces from his past, including traditional African sculpture, tintypes of his family members, piano keys, and Georgia red clay.

In a 2013 interview with Lilly Lampe in BOMBlog, Bailey describes his creative process, “the day by day experience of art, even though my work may seem to have this layer of history, it is also a cover for what I’m dealing with on a day to day. It’s very much about today. We were talking about where I go next: I’m still thinking about today and yesterday and what’s coming in front of me tomorrow. It’s my attitude to my studio practice.“

Bailey was born in Bridgeton, New Jersey in 1968, and grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, where he currently lives and works today. Bailey received a BFA in 1991 from The Atlanta College of Art. 

In response to his show Memory as Medicine (2012), at The High Museum, the artist is described, “Bailey harmonizes an intuitive balance of world history and familial memory. Through exploration of the past, the present, and the unknown, Bailey layers meaning into his art by layering objects. Combining two and three dimensional forms, he uses various mediums and scale to create a diverse and engaging collection of art that can be read together as pages of the same book.“ 

His past exhibitions include, Memory as Medicine, High Museum of Art, Atlanta (2011), which traveled to the Davis Museum and Cultural Center, Wellesley College, and the McNay Art Museum, San Antonio, TX.  New/Now: Radcliffe Bailey, New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT (2004), Neo-HooDoo, organized by The Menil Collection, Houston, TX, at Miami Art Museum, FL (2009), and traveled to MoMA P.S.1, NY (2009). Bailey’s work is in the collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, Washington, D.C.; The Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City, MO and the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA, among others.

Norbert Brunner

Norbert Brunner (born 1969, Hohenems, Austria) is an Austrian object, conceptual and installation artist. Brunner’s mirror objects reflect not only the viewer, but also superimpose messages across their visual path, insisting they become an interactive part of the installation. He studied on the University of Applied Arts Vienna. Currently Brunner lives and works in Vienna and New York City.

After being raised in Vorarlberg he served a joinery apprenticeship and attended a vocational school for sculpture in Elbigenalp, Tyrol. He studied sculpting on the University of Applied Arts Vienna with professor Wander Bertoni. He also had been influenced by Oswald Oberhuber, Bernhard Leitner, Franz Graf and Isabelle Graw.

Brunner has public projects in Kobe, Japan; Edmonton, Canada and Birmington, UK. His work has been exhibited throughout the world including Beijing, China; Sydney, Australia; London, UK; Moscow, Russia; Berlin, Germany; Paris, France; Vienna,Graz, Austria; Geneva, Swiss; Prague, Czech; New York City, Dallas, USA; Osaka, Nagoya, Kyoto, Japan and Sydney, Australia. He also participated in the biennale in Valencia and the architecture biennale in Beijing, the expo Aichi in Nagoya and the Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition.

His works are part of important museum collections like the 21 Haus in Vienna, the New Britain Museum of American Art and the Vorarlberger Landesmuseum.

Norbert Brunner’s works are meant to inspire for the beholder to get a “broader“ attitude of mind. In his objects he translates two dimensional images into a multi-dimensional design. His objects demand that the viewer examines them closely for full visual appreciation and understanding. This spatial interaction with the sculpture is forcing the viewer into a more extensive contention with the artwork. Brunner’s mirror objects reflect not only the viewer, but also superimpose written messages. Using few but compelling words, Brunner’s texts reflect infinite possibilities asking us to formulate our own interpretation of reality.

Brunner employs acrylic glass, Swarovski crystal, mirror, photographic prints, paint, and foil in his creations that range in size from personal and intimate to monumental and communal. In his objects he defines the dot as the lowest common denominator. Everything consists of these dots, which are located next or above one another and make up the image. By putting foil dots on several layers of acrylic glass and mirrors he arranges layers in a sandwich system. When the viewer changes his position towards the object these images dissolve into many individual parts and reassemble only when seen from the right angle.

Brunner is always dreaming up new techniques and mediums to employ new means of “communication“. As source material for his works, Brunner uses well-known objects or texts from everyday life which are universally familiar. They become his vocabulary of global communication with the aim to reach as many people as possible.

Robert Calafiore

My work attempts to truthfully document and share my experience of beauty. The current series utilizes a “camera obscura“ to expose this troubled ideal. The unique power of this simple box to incomparably translate and transform the subject is central to my practice both physically and conceptually.

These photographs investigate and question my understanding of beauty and it’s relevance today. The remarkable change in attitude towards it’s meaning and significance over time, has led me to challenge the viewer and myself to revisit what defines beauty.

Ordinary glass objects, initially collected from family, and later added to by purchase, are the subject and vehicle for telling my story. Immigrants to the United States in the late 1940’s, most of the glass is mid-century modern and comes from the immediate and extended Italian family. Much of my life was and is centered in the kitchen, making these functional and decorative pieces part of my every day. They are imbued with memories that return to reveal details about my life and the simple, yet powerful beauty in living. Beauty is experience. Beauty is experiential.

The footed bowls and compotes, plates and lidded candy jars are precariously stacked to create towers that seem both confident and solid and ready to collapse simultaneously. These fragile still life constructions play out my life, documenting it’s past and predicting my future.

Our human capacity for seeing everything that surrounds us is called into question. These ideas are inspired by my fascination and obsession to elevate the ordinary to an unfamiliar and beautiful or magical place. By this act, I seek out to repetitively recreate and re-experience those moments of encountering and recognizing beauty, which helped to form my person.

All of the works are unique and are 40“h x 30“w. These are traditional, wet darkroom prints and exclude the use of any post manipulation or digital technology. Access to current tools and information is left behind in favor of a simple process and methodology that in itself is beautiful and revealing in a real human way. The protracted engagement with subject, process, and meaning are core to my interest as artist and observer and eventually, storyteller.

The goal is to make work that reflects what is important to me, beautiful to me, and truthful. Both the work and the long laborious process grow from these beliefs. The work personifies my experience of being in the world and coming to understand myself as well as others, through sharing these experiences.

Ellen Carey

I approach photography as picture making rather than picture taking. I am interested, both visually and conceptually, in chaos theory, fractal geometry, and symmetry and asymmetry as found not only in art, but nature, science, mathematics, and architecture. Order and randomness both play key roles in the creation of my work, which has affinities to Abstract Expressionism, Surrealism, and Minimalism.

One question frequently asked about my work is How was this picture made? More recently, this has been joined by the question What is this a picture of? With these two questions my art not only confronts photography-as-process but also challenges the prescribed expectation that photographs depict reality.

Abstraction in photography is a virtual contradiction in terms. It is at the particular intersection where a photograph is devoid of any recognizable image that I wish to concentrate my artistic, intellectual and aesthetic energies. Minimalism remains distinctly underdeveloped in photography, but is well established in contemporary painting and sculpture. My photographs share specific affinities with the art of Dan Flavin, Ellsworth Kelly, Agnes Martin, Sol LeWitt, and Donald Judd. The work of all these artists has a sublime presence and a timeless eloquence that not only challenges ideas about what is and what is not art, but also carries with it spiritual and perceptual overtones that are existentially self-defining. In my own work, this same combination of qualities can be seen in a palette linked with the stained-glass window of my Catholic upbringing that serves as the basis for a rigorous investigation of light, that primary agent responsible for all photography.

My pictures are reminiscent of distant galaxies and nebulae taken with a large telescope or the interior microphotographs of tissue, optical nerves and cells. I have created rich fields of marks that are clearly abstract, mysterious and full of ambiguities while paradoxically introducing the gestalt of forms and metaphors.

Daniel Clayman

Daniel has been involved in the visual and performing arts since the mid 1970’s. His first formal training was as a theater and modern dance lighting designer. He began “sculpting with light“ as a lighting design student and then as a visiting Lighting Designer for the Dance Department at Connecticut College in 1977. The year 1983 proved pivotal in his artistic career. After six years of working with numerous touring theater and dance companies, he enrolled in the Glass Program at the Rhode Island School of Design. Graduating with a BFA in Glass in June of 1986, Daniel made his home in the Providence, RI area where he has maintained a studio ever since.

I am in contact with my work everyday. Most days I come to the studio as the “working artist.“ Other days I come as an observer, to see what the “artist“ is doing. The work is a continual, always evolving exploration of simple forms.

Using a vocabulary of extremely simple forms whose scale ranges from three to nine feet, these objects describe volumes in space. Some of the pieces are easily identifiable as vessels and may allude to holding volumes of water. Others are pure abstraction holding only quantities of air and space. By taking away any real solid mass, I am left with just the skins of glass, bronze or graphite that define a measure of capacity. Other objects are identifiable as a ramp (“PLANE“) that divides space with a simple line or as a wheel (“CIRCULAR OBJECT ONE“) that makes the center volume of air as important as the white structure itself.

Willie Cole

Willie Cole is best known for assembling and transforming ordinary domestic and used objects such as irons, ironing boards, high-heeled shoes, hair dryers, bicycle parts, wooden matches, lawn jockeys, and other discarded appliances and hardware, into imaginative and powerful works of art and installations.

Through the repetitive use of single objects in multiples, Cole’s assembled sculptures acquire a transcending and renewed metaphorical meaning, or become a critique of our consumer culture. Cole’s work is generally discussed in the context of postmodern eclecticism, combining references and appropriation ranging from African and African American imagery, to Dada’s readymades and Surrealism’s transformed objects, and icons of American pop culture or African and Asian masks, into highly original and witty assemblages. Some of Cole’s interactive installations also draw on simple game board structures that include the element of chance while physically engaging the viewer.

Cole’s widely recurring symbolic and artistic object that was initially brought to the attention of the art world in the mid-1980s has been the steam iron. While Cole’s unique approach of imprinting the steam iron’s marks on a variety of media result in a wide-ranging decorative potential of his scorchings, these scorches are also to be viewed as a reference to Cole’s African American heritage.

Willie Cole grew up in Newark, New Jersey. He attended the Boston University School of Fine Arts, received his Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Visual Arts in New York in 1976, and continued his studies at the Art Students League of New York from 1976-79.

He’s the recipient of many awards, including the 2006 Winner of the David C. Driskell Prize, the first national award to honor and celebrate contributions to the field of African American art and art history, established by the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia.

Willie Cole’s work is found in numerous private and public collections and museums around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City, New York.

Ed Freeman

Ed Freeman’s early career was in the music industry; he performed as a folk guitarist and classical lutenist, worked as a road manager on the last Beatles’ tour, played guitar on dozens of pop recordings, wrote orchestral arrangements for artists such as Carly Simon and Cher, produced and arranged over two dozen albums, including Don McLean’s American Pie.

After a mid-life career change, he now creates commercial and fine art photographs that have been featured in hundreds of publications. Two books of his computer-enhanced images have been published. His architectural series – Desert Realty and Urban Realty – have been the subject of touring museum shows. Prints of his fine art images are in the permanent collections of several American museums and private collections world-wide.

These days Freeman travels the world taking pictures, teachers Photoshop, still plays the piano, is fighting a losing battle to learn Mandarin Chinese and swears mightily that he will write the Great American Symphony one day – whenever he gets some spare time.

Don’t hold your breath.

Freeman’s art is both whimsical and insightful, primitive and probing. He takes great delight in elevating the mundane to heights of grandeur. In his desert pictures, he lavishes exorbitant attention on structures that would otherwise be overlooked. In his urban pictures, he shows us commercial buildings the way they would like to be seen; both visions are revelatory and thought-provoking.

Freeman’s pictures are photographed conventionally, both digitally and on film. They are then scanned into a computer and massively and meticulously retouched. Almost invariably, the surroundings and skies are cut out and replaced. Doors and windows are moved, colors altered, lighting changed. Prints are done on high end giclee printers using archival inks on heavy-weight fine art paper.

Ed Freeman worked for twenty-five years as a musician, composer, and record producer before taking up photography full-time twenty years ago. He is entirely self-taught, but insists that every note he ever wrote or played as a musician informs every photograph he has ever taken. “Music goes in the ear, pictures go in the eye. Once they get into the brain, they’re identical.“

Sam Gibbons

Sam Gibbons’ paintings are fascinating renderings of cartoons perversely entwined in spasms of death and candy-colored imitations of sex. Gibbons’ work is a painterly convergence of figuration and abstraction; resembling a Rorschach test, one side of the canvas mirrors the other, lending symmetry and precision to fluid and spontaneous bursts of color and form. Employing imagery that was originally intended to entertain and pacify, Gibbons’ paintings are at war within themselves. The typical role of the cartoon is subverted; these benchmarks of inexperience are engaged in violent and sexual acts. Acting as allegories for the loss of innocence, Sam Gibbons’ paintings exist as a complex and beautiful mimicry of the human condition.

Sam Gibbons received his MFA from Hunters College in New York. Prior to that, he studied at Kent State University in Ohio.

Each of his paintings is symmetrical—one side of the canvas mirrors the other, like a Rorschach test. Gibbons intends for his paintings to act as allegories for the loss of innocence.

He describes the subject of his paintings as ’cartoons entwined in spasms of death and candy-colored imitations of sex’.

Gibbons has guest lectured at New Britain Museum of American Art and Cleveland Institute of Art. He currently lives in Baltimore, Maryland

David Hilliard

For years I have been actively documenting my life and the lives of those around me, recording events and attempting to create order in a sometimes chaotic world. While my photographs focus on the personal, the familiar and the simply ordinary, the work strikes a balance between autobiography and fiction. Within the photographs physical distance is often manipulated to represent emotional distance. The casual glances people share can take on a deeper significance, and what initially appears subjective and intimate is quite often a commentary on the larger contours of life.

For me, the construction of panoramic photographs, comprised of various single images, acts as a visual language. Focal planes shift, panel by panel. This sequencing of photographs and shifting of focal planes allows me the luxury of guiding the viewer across the photograph, directing their eye; an effect which could not be achieved through a single image.

I continually aspire to represent the spaces we inhabit, relationships we create, and the objects with which we surround ourselves. I hope the messages the photographs deliver speak to the personal as well as the universal experience. I find the enduring power and the sheer ability of a photograph to express a thought, a moment, or an idea, to be the most powerful expression of myself, both as an artist, and as an individual.

Karol Kawiaka

Karolina Kawiaka designs buildings and everyday objects, and has a studio practice where her work investigates the relationship of the natural and man made environments.

Trained as an artist and architect, she has had architectural commissions in Australia, Michigan, Maine, New York, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont, and has had her drawings and installations shown in New York, Maryland, New Hampshire, Washington D.C. and Vermont.

Kawiaka joined Architecture 2030 in 2008 to design and teach the design of energy efficient buildings to help mitigate climate change. Her own home and studio in White River Junction, VT is Carbon Neutral run on 100% PV electricity with on a site designed following permaculture principles. She specializes in sustainable architecture, including the design of Zero Net Energy building designs and Deep Energy Retrofit renovations incorporating renewable energy sources and permaculture landscaping, and infrastructure and planning projects.

Kawiaka has work in the New Britain Museum of American Art collection, was nominated for a Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award, and is a winner of the Washington Monument Grounds Ideas Competition in 2011.

Michael Mahalchick

Born 1972 in Pennsylvania, USA.

Michael Mahalchick has exhibited his sculpture internationally at Atelier Cardenas Bellanger in Paris, Kate McGarry in London and in New York at PS1 and the The Sculpture Center. In addition to his sculpture practice, he choreographs dance, performs and produces sound and video art. He has performed internationally with Discoteca Flaming Star most recently at the Whitney Museum of American Art and The Kitchen. The artist received a MFA from California Institute of the Arts and now lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Ivan Navarro

Ivan Navarro (Chilean, b.1972) is a world-renowned sculptor, who was born in Santiago, Chile. He obtained his BA in Fine Arts from the University of Chile in Santiago, Chile. He has contributed to the post-punk movement by using cold neon light as his medium. One of his most notable works is Red and Blue Electric Chair, which is Navarro’s interpretation of a common chair. It features a frame constructed of purple neon tubes. When Navarro was a baby, there was a great deal of political corruption in Chile. Many political dissidents were taken from their homes and never heard from again. Navarro grew up with the fear that he would disappear like these individuals. He began using light in his sculptures as a symbol of hope and truth. His inspiration comes from everyday objects, such as shopping carts, ladders, doors, and chairs. At first glance, his pieces look fun, with bright colors and common shapes. If you look deeper into the images, you get a glimpse of Navarro’s own psychological anxiety. In one unfinished series entitled The Edge, his inspiration is the simplicity of a door. When you peer into the glass in the door, the neon creates an illusion of a portal that goes on forever. One of Navarro’s earlier works, You Sit, You Die, was his version of the electric chair. It was constructed of white fluorescent lights. The Chilean government used electricity as a means of torture. Included on the chair, he wrote the names of every individual that had been executed in the state of Florida by electric chair. The joints of the chair were tied together with shoelaces, which was an item that the prison took away out of fear that the prisoners would hang themselves. Navarro’s works have been exhibited in many Fine Art galleries and museums across the globe, including the North Dakota Museum of Modern Art in Grand Forks, the Millennium Museum in Beijing, China, the Archill Gallery in Aukland, New Zealand, and the 27/7 Gallery in London, England. Navarro currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.Recent solo and group exhibitions include Under the Same Sun, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York (2014); This Land is Your Land, Madison Square Park, New York, USA. (2014); Where is the Next War?, Daniel Templon Gallery, Paris, France (2013); Light Show, Hayward Gallery. London, UK (2013); Light at the End of the Tunnel, Egeran Galley, Istanbul, Turkey (2012); Ivan Navarro: Fluorescent Light Sculptures, Frost Art Museum, Miami (2012); Nacht und Nebel, Fondazione VOLUME!. Rome, Italy (2012); the Prospect.2 Biennial in New Orleans (2011); Paul Kasmin Gallery in New York (2010); HomeLessHome, Museum on the Seam. Jerusalem, Israel (2010); Nowhere Man, Towner Contemporary Art Museum, Eastbourne, UK, and Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris (2009); Threshold, Chilean Pavilion, Aresnal, 53rd Venice Biennale (2009); Don Quijote, Witte de Witt. Rotterdam, The Netherlands (2006); and Artificial Light, MOCA at Goldman Warehouse, Miami (2006).His work is held in the public and private collections of the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden (Washington, DC), Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (Richmond, VA), Fonds National d’Art Contemporain (Paris), Towner Contemporary Art Museum, (Eastbourne, UK), LVMH Collection (Paris), Saatchi Collection (London), Martin Z. Margulies Warehouse (Miami, FL), and Centro Galego de Arte Contemporanea (Santiago de Compostela, Spain).

Rashaad Newsome

Rashaad Newsome’s work comprises a visual vocabulary that combines high neo-Baroque style with low pop-advertising imagery in obsessively-handmade collages. His richly detailed compositions form a kind of Rosetta stone for the hip-hop culture. Newsome culls familiar images of luxury goods from glossy consumer magazines: sports gear, jewel-encrusted brooches, rings, watches, furs and yachts, which he meticulously affixes in richly layered compositions with patterned backgrounds and a distinctive use of central space with crests and shields built from unexpected details.

Newsome was born in New Orleans in 1979 and currently lives and works in New York. The artist’s first solo museum exhibition, Matrix 161: Rashaad Newsome, was held at The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford, CT in early 2011. His work was also recently exhibited in the 2010 Whitney Biennial at The Whitney Museum of American Art, Greater New York 2010 at MoMA PS1 and Dance/Draw at the ICA Boston. Forthcoming projects and performances will include Hair Affair at the Miami Art Museum’s “Party in the Plaza“ on December 1st, 2011, Shade Compositions at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art in April 2012 and SEVEN, a solo exhibition and performance at The Drawing Center, New York, NY, in November 2012.

Alexis Peskine

Alexis Aliocha Peskine was born in Paris, France in, 1979. He is a 2004 Fulbright Scholar who holds a B.F.A. from Howard University an M.A. and M.F.A. from the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA). Peskine’s use of graphic and commercial images in fine art is informed by his early start in graphic design. At age 15, he was the youngest student to enter the Apprentice Center of Formation for the Graphic Art in Paris; he subsequently worked for Crayures as an industrial designer for clients such as Roland Garros, Malterre and Fly. He also served a stint as Creative Director for Burrell Communications in Chicago. Peskine bridges the gap between graphic design and fine art by using the same design aesthetic to appeal to the masses, as his work often touches on the ideology of consumerism and mass consumption.

As a junior at Howard University in 2002, Peskine was the first winner of the Verizon HBCU Student Art Competition; the following year, he won second place in the same competition. His work has attracted the attention of Chrissie Iles of the Whitney Museum and Yukie Kamaya of the New Museum of Contemporary Art in New York. Burrell Communications’ Chairman Emeritus Tom Burrell and musicians Donald Byrd, Talib Kweli and Common all own Peskine’s work.

Jack Pierson

Jack Pierson (American, b.1960) is a photographer, sculptor, and draftsman. Considered to be exceptionally prolific and comfortable working with a variety of media, Pierson is best known for his photography, Abstract sculptures, and collages. He is openly gay, and many of his photographs are images of men shot in a casual, erotic fashion. Pierson was born in Plymouth, MA. He received a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art in Boston, MA, in 1984.

Pierson is considered to be part of the Boston School, which is a term used to refer to a group of photographers who worked in Boston in the early 1980s. Mark Morrisoroe (American, 1959–1989), David Armstrong (American, b.1954), Nan Goldin (American, b.1953), and Philip-Lorca diCorcia (American, b.1951) were all part of the Boston School and created a style of photography that centered on them photographing their mutual friends in intimate or casual settings. In 1990, Pierson created Goodbye Yellow Brick Road Part II, a collection of soap bars that referenced not only the titular brick road but also musicals, fantasy, and the glamor of Hollywood. In 1993, he created the photographs Chris and Neal and his Tunafish Salad.

Pierson published a series of 15 portraits under the title of Self Portrait in 2003. The book features photographs of men arranged from oldest to youngest, but photographs of Pierson are not included in the work. In 2004, his Self-Portrait series was part of the Whitney Biennial. Other examples of his work were shown in the Museum of Modern Art in New York, NY, the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, MA, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. In 2011, Pierson and Elliotte Puckette (American, b.1967) were united in a two-person show of collages at the Danzinger Gallery. Pierson is also known for photographing noted celebrities and models, such as Snoop Dogg, Brad Pitt, Naomi Campbell, and Michael Bergin. He lives and works in Southern California and New York, and is currently represented by Cheim & Read.

Roger Shimomura

Roger Shimomura’s paintings, prints, and theatre pieces address sociopolitical issues of ethnicity. He was born in Seattle, Washington and spent two early years of his childhood in Minidoka (Idaho), one of 10 concentration camps for Japanese Americans during WWII.

Shimomura received a B.A. degree from the University of Washington, Seattle, and an M.F.A. from Syracuse University, New York. He has had over 130 solo exhibitions of paintings and prints, as well as presented his experimental theater pieces at such venues as the Franklin Furnace, New York City, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, and The Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC. He is the recipient of more than 30 grants, of which 4 are National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships in Painting and Performance Art. Shimomura has been a visiting artist and lectured on his work at more than 200 universities, art schools, and museums across the country. In 1999, the Seattle Urban League designated a scholarship in his name that has been awarded annually to a Seattle resident pursuing a career in art. In 2002 he received the College Art Association Distinguished Body of Work Award. The following year, he delivered the keynote address at the 91st annual meeting of CAA in New York City. In 2003 he was a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Painting Award. In 2006, he was accorded the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the School of Arts & Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, and five years later was one of 50 alumni to be presented with the “150th Anniversary Timeless Award“. A past winner of the Kansas Governor’s Arts Award, in 2008, he was designated the first Kansas Master Artist and the same year was honored by the Asian American Arts Alliance, N.Y.C. as “Exceptional People in Fashion, Food & the Arts.“ In 2011 Shimomura was designated a United States Artist Fellow in Visual Arts and the next year delivered the commencement address to Garfield High School, Seattle, his alma mater.

Shimomura began teaching at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS in 1969. In the fall of 1990, Shimomura held an appointment as the Dayton Hudson Distinguished Visiting Professor at Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota. During his teaching career at the University of Kansas he was the first faculty member ever to be designated a University Distinguished Professor (1994), receive the Higuchi Research Prize (1998) and the Chancellor’s Club Career Teaching Award (2002). In 2004 he retired from teaching and started the Shimomura Faculty Research Support Fund, an endowment to foster faculty research in the Department of Art.

Shimomura is in the permanent collections of over 90 museums nation wide including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of American Art and the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian.. His personal papers and letters are being collected by the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC. He is represented by Flomenhaft Gallery, New York City and Greg Kucera Gallery, Seattle.

Kwabena Slaughter

I think of cameras, along with photographs, as cultural artifacts. In the same way that an anthropologist can look at jewelry or clothing to learn about the culture that created those things, the design of a camera and the photos it takes can tell us about the culture that created them.

The camera, as we know it today, evolved out of Renaissance painting experiments in linear-perspective. A few curious chemists simply put a piece of light-sensitive paper in the light path. As a result of this particular history, photographic images still bear a strong aesthetic kinship with western painting. Stripped of its cultural history a “camera“ is simply an enclosed object with a hole in one side through which light enters. As such, the camera predates photography by thousands of years. With these factors of origin, evolution, and technology as a starting point, my work asks the question: “what would photography look like if it had grown out of a different aesthetic tradition?“

The photos I make explore the representation of space, time, and narrative through a panoramic style. Using a specially modified camera I shoot directly onto long rolls of color slide-film. The image fills the entire film-strip, without any frame breaks, looking much like a photographic scroll. The strips of slide-film, which can be up to 100-ft long, are displayed on light-boxes. The long horizontal strips of film serve as both as a measure of the dimensions of the subject and also as a record of the subjects movement over time.

With an extensive background in the visual and performing arts, Kwabena Slaughter brings together fresh new ideas on the nature of art and aesthetic experience. His current work in photography investigates the relationship between the camera, photography, and the painting traditions that precede it. Instead of accepting the historical narrative that leads from linear-perspective, through the camera obscura, to photography; Kwabena imagines an alternative history, one in which photography grows out of scroll-painting. Working with cameras that the artist modifies himself, Kwabena makes single images that occupy the entire length of a strip of slide-film. These strips of film can be up to 60-feet long.

Kwabena’s video and photographic work has been shown at premier institutions in the U.S. and abroad, including the New Museum, and the Studio Museum in Harlem. He has been a resident at the Art Omi International Artists Residency, the Center for Photography at Woodstock, the Bronx Museum’s AIM Program,and Smack Mellon Gallery. His grant credits include the New Media and Technology Grant from the New York State Council on the Arts. Kwabena’s performing arts credits include acting in the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Next Wave Festival, dancing with a trapeze-dance company, and stage-managing for a clown school. His writing on aesthetics has been published in the journal “Philosophy and Social Action“.

Drew Tal

Growing up in Israel in the ’60’s, was a blessing for me. At that time in history the young state was a true melting pot for millions of immigrants from all around the globe. Surrounded with such a colorful collage of ethnicities, languages, nationalities, cultures and religions made me realize from an early age that the world beyond me was a rich and complex place. This revelation opened my eyes to the exotic, and made me extremely curious about people and their religions, customs, costumes and histories. It also planted an insatiable desire in me to travel to faraway lands.

Fortunately, from the age of fifteen, I have been able to realize that desire, and have been traveling extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the Americas ever since. Every journey has brought with it a whole new set of inspirations and a fresh need to create. I responded to my creative urge by sketching, illustrating and studying human and architectural forms, but from the moment I discovered the power of camera and film, I was hooked on that medium.

In 1981, my travels brought me to New York. I experienced the fantastic metropolis up close and felt at home immediately. I never used my return ticket. I found New York to be as culturally and ethnically diverse as my birth country, except on a much grander scale. New York and especially its ethnic people would become one of the main inspirations for my artistic expression.

Working for a couture fashion house in the mid-’80’s opened a new door for me, a door into the world of fashion. While working there as a designer, I began photographing fashion models for magazine editorials and ad campaigns. Shooting fashion was exciting and lucrative but not as satisfying artistically. However, with access to all the modeling agencies, I could easily cast models and find subjects for my real passion: my art. Indian, Asian, Hispanic and Arab beauty is in abundance in New York. With each exotic face in front of my lens, a new art image emerges in my mind. A Yemenite face has inspired me to create my own version of St. Sebastian, a Pakistani model transformed into ’the Believer’, a Cuban youth assumed the image of John ’the Baptist’, a Spanish artist morphed into the ’Messiah’, an Indian beauty into ’Silence’....

In the early ’90’s, with the introduction of digital software, I began combining my photography with elements of art and texture. Suddenly, photographs I had taken while traveling in faraway destinations had new potential. Decaying facades in Vietnam, Inca walls in Peru, medieval fortresses in Portugal, baroque cathedrals in Russia, gold Buddhas in Burma, abandoned temple carvings in India all assumed a new role as they became infused layers of texture and depth in my art. Patiently I have been merging those travel images with my conventional photography, creating a medium which is somewhere between a photograph and a painting. The process is a laborious one but it gives me the most artistic satisfaction. I have found that printing my images onto textured media, such as handmade paper, canvas, silk or metal gives my art an added depth and enhances its spiritual, mystical and provocative nature.

Gabi Trinkaus

Austrian artist Gabi Trinkaus unravels our obsession with perfection and superficiality to expose the depths of societal misconceptions. Her oversized works appear as photographic flawlessness from a distance yet, on closer examination one is confronted with intriguing layers that reveal cracks in this illusion. Trinkaus’ medium of choice, snippets culled from glossy lifestyle magazines collaged over idyllic Toile de Jouy, underscore her concept. Exploring society’s preoccupation with mass media’s “sales pitch“ of the perfect life available if only one would buy a certain product, the Artist realized no material would provide a more transparent explanation to her intended criticism than the actual magazine paper itself.

Piles of torn magazines cover the wooden floors of the studio, whereas beautiful faces emerge doing the white canvases on the high walls of the Viennese flat. Austrian artist Gabi Trinkaus depicts with her collages how to unravel superficiality to find the depths of social misbeliefs. The oversized artworks appear from a distance like portraits of flawless women and me, yet on a closer look, the layers reveal the cracks in the mask. Cut out pages and snippets of glossy magazines serve as her material to underline the subject matter. Collected paper skin-parts of numerous models are shaped together into a collective entity describing mankind’s idea of beauty.

John Littleton

Born in Cambridgeshire, England, Kate Vogel studied at Santa Reperata Graphic Center in Florence, Italy, and received a Bachelor of Science in Art from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. John Littleton was born in Madison, Wisconsin. He later studied at the Interlochen Arts Academy, Interlochen, Michigan, and also received a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. Littleton and Vogel, husband and wife, have worked together in their studio near Penland, North Carolina, since 1980. They are perhaps best known for their colorful, playful Acrobags, which started as a happy accident. Their newer cast pieces are a dramatic departure from the lighthearted bags. Faces and hands are formed in various poses and combination to explore states of mind, relationships, and even spiritual themes.

Collaborating glass sculptors John Littleton and Kate Vogel are influential artists in what is referred to as the Third Generation of the American Studio Glass Movement. Their ongoing series of cast glass pieces exploring hands are luminous images that bring nature into our interior spaces.

“As you walk along the edge of a river you stop, pick up a stone and turn it in your hand. On our walks we began picking up stones, examining their forms. Tracing their forms with our eyes and hands, we wrapped our hands around them to enclose, envelope, elevate the object. They became a sculpture echoing form.“ — John Littleton and Kate Vogel

Their work is in the collections of the Hickory Museum of Art (NC), High Museum of Art (GA), Milwaukee Art Museum (WI), Mint Museum of Craft + Design (NC), White House Permanent Collection (DC), St. Louis Art Museum (MO), Racine Art Museum (WI), The William J. Clinton Presidential Library (AR), Glasmuseum Ebeltoft (Denmark), Glasmuseum Frauenau (Germany) and Musee de Design et d’Arts Appliques Contemporains (Switzerland).

John and Kate currently work from their studio in North Carolina.

Richard Ryan Hornby

A native of Tucson, Arizona, Richard began working with stained glass at an early age.

In 1985 Richard walked into a hot-glass studio, and found the one method of working glass that captured his attention and allowed him to express his great creativity.

For the next three years Richard worked and studied at Stephen John Clements Glass Art Studio, then in 1988 worked at Philabaum’s Glass Studio as their cold-shop manager.

Eight years later he found life partnership with fellow glass artist Linda Allyn. Together they created Desert Fire Glassworks, LLC in Tubac, Arizona in 1996. After three successful years in Tubac, they became Fire Ranch Glassworks and relocated to a custom-built studio at the base of the beautiful Santa Catalina mountains north of Tucson.

Richard’s premier pieces convey his love of dense, rich, and vibrant color. His work encompasses traditional vases and vessels as well as nontraditional forms and sculptures. Of the glassworking process, Richard says, “The first thing that occurs is the materials letting me know what tolerances, problems, and hidden beauties lie within. Then, to the best of my abilities, I work with them to reveal an optimum visual effect until the piece has become a finished product. When the piece is finished, it communicates a little bit of me and my thoughts as well as silica and its ability to be utilized in art.“

Steve Weinberg

With a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Weinberg is a two-time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and has been casting and cutting glass in his Rhode Island studio since 1979.

“My art has always been about a way to gain control over my environment. Through the process of making objects I am able to set parameters and make sense of space whereas my day-to-day life borders on unmanageable chaos. I find peace in the process of making art juxtaposed to the uncertainty of everyday living. It is within this dichotomy that I achieve a sense of balance, of organization, even if it is fleeting, and unsustainable. I manage to achieve harmony within a world that has spun out of control.“

From the seemingly chaotic and frenzied environment of his studio, Weinberg brings clarity and order to his art that confounds. There is no immediacy in his work, and like the ceramicist, Weinberg must plan his pieces, leaving some to bathe in the kiln for days before he performs his own version of Pate de Verre. “My purpose is to achieve harmony in a world that has spun out of control. Through the process of making objects, I am able to set parameters and make sense of space.“ With a Master’s degree in Fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design, and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University, Weinberg is a two time recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant and has been casting and cutting glass in his Rhode Island Studio since 1979. His work is represented in the major collections of over 50 public art museums around the world, including the Musee des Arts Decoratifs at Palais du Louvre in Paris, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC.

Fay Ku

Taipei, Taiwan-born and Brooklyn-based visual artist Fay Ku has exhibited her works on paper nationally and internationally since 2004. Venues for her solo exhibitions include Englewood Art Center (Englewood, FL) The New Britain Museum of American Art (New Britain, CT), The Contemporary Museum (Honolulu , HI), Galerie L MD (Paris, France), Sam Lee Gallery (Los Angeles), Eight Modern Gallery (Santa Fe, NM) and Karin Weber Gallery (Hong Kong). She was commissioned by The New York Times Magazine to create original art in 2007, and was interviewed in a Sundance Channel featurette in 2008. She is a 2007 Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant recipient and a 2009 NYFA fellow in Printmaking/Drawing/Artists Books and National Performance Network/Artist Network Project Grant recipient.

Ku holds a BA in Literature and Visual Arts from Bennington College, Bennington, VT, and a MS in Art History and MFA in Studio Art from Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY. She currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

Fay Ku creates works on paper that combine the bold negative space and calligraphic lines of traditional Asian art with an American emphasis on the figure. Her delicately drawn characters explore the fluidity of identity—sexual, cultural, personal and political—and the ambiguity in relationships with one another. Even as they engage in conflict or violence, their draughtsman-like stylization and sparse colors lend a austere gracefulness to the scenes. “Problematic relationships and issues of socialization are central themes in my work–stories, myths and things witnessed inspire me,“ Ku says.

One of Ku’s most recurring motifs is children, often girls, in combat. In Room for Only One II (2005), a girl in a boat is poised to stab submerged swimmers with a sharp pick, in Warrior Girls (2005), three pigtailed girls carry decapitated heads on sticks, while in Not Enough Oxygen (2005) a girl holds a bag over a younger boy’s head. As children, Ku’s protagonists have not yet learned empathy and so reveal the inherently savage side of humanity without shame. “We’re not that much evolved when we become grownups,“ Ku says. “We have the veneer of being socialized, but all those tendencies and emotions are barely under the surface.’

Jon Rappleye

This work is a homespun faerie tale, a re-creation of cultural folklore and a personal mythology – a world populated by recurring fantastical creatures and strange hybrid phenomena. Within this environment there are layered references to the human body. Biological structures and functions are reanimated, exploring ecological issues, technology and a dream world landscape. The lines between organic and manmade have become increasingly blurred. Using nature as a blueprint I explore the boundaries of reality versus artifice. Due to Scientific “fact“ we have lost our interest in the mysteries of the unknown and the unseen. My Work is a flight of the imagination, taking place in an uncertain future and inspired by an unknowable past.

Rappleye’s work has been exhibited throughout the United States, including solo exhibitions at Jeff Bailey Gallery, New York; Richard Heller Gallery, Los Angeles; The John Michael Kohler Arts Center, Sheboygan, Wisconsin; Clough Hanson Gallery, Rhodes College, Memphis; the Salina Art Center, Salina, Kansas; and the Jersey City Museum, New Jersey. His work is featured in the collections of the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas; The Progressive Corporation, Ohio; West Collection, Pennsylvania and U. S. Art in Embassies. He attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and has been an artist in residence at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; MacDowell Colony; the Headlands Center for the Arts and John Michael Kohler Arts Center, among other venues. He received his MFA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He lives and works in Jersey City, New Jersey.

Michael Salter

Michael Salter is an Associate Professor of Digital Arts/New Media and is currently the Digital Arts Program Director. Salter received his BFA from Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. His BFA is a double concentration in sculpture and graphic design. He received his MFA in studio art from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill.

Salter’s art work has shown nationally and internationally in Brussels, New York, L.A., Portland, London, Amsterdam, Miami, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Seattle, Atlanta and Chicago. His work has been featured in Art In America, Best Art NY 2009, Dot Dot Dash, Pictoplasma2, Grab Magazine, Arkitip Magazine, Repellent Magazine, and LoDown Magazine. In 2004 he had his first major museum solo exhibition at the Southeastern Center for Contemporary Art in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. In 2005, he received an Individual Artist Grant from the North Carolina Arts Council. He has exhibited solo installations at Charles de Jonghe gallery, Brussels, Rice University Art Gallery, Houston, Jeff Bailey Gallery, NYC, The University of Texas, Arlington, and Black Market Gallery in Los Angeles, California. Salter has lectured at the Adidas Corporation (Portland and Nuremburg), Wichita State University (in conjunction with the Ulrich Museum show ’Robots’), the 2010 IDSA “DIY Design“ Conference in Portland, The Gallery at UTA, UT Arlington, Texas, and Rice University, Houston.

Throughout his career as an artist Salter has made a commitment to the support and success of Lump Gallery/Projects. This gallery is an alternative art space dedicated to exhibiting challenging work by emerging artists. Lump acts as a cultural hub for artists from all disciplines, showcasing conceptual art. Michael Salter’s work is a massive and in-depth response to visual culture. A self proclaimed “obsessive observer“ he culls through the avalanche of mass media and corporate branding to find poignant, absurd and baffling pieces which become part of his work. His work bridges all disciplines from product and toy design, to kinetic sculpture, logotypes, animation, and signage. He is currently interested in cognitive behavior and its relationship to particular visual stimuli, and the continued construction of styrofoam robots.

Negar Ahkami

Negar Ahkami is an American artist, born in Baltimore in 1971, the daughter of Iranian immigrants. Ahkami is from the New York area, having spent her early years in Clifton, NJ and moved to Manhattan at age 17. She currently lives and works in the DC and New York areas.

Ahkami received a B.A. in Middle Eastern Languages and Cultures from Columbia University in 1992, and a J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1997. She spent her childhood and teenage years figure drawing and painting at the Art Students League of New York. She maintained a studio practice and participated in group shows as a young lawyer, including an exhibit curated by artist Nicky Nodjoumi in 1999. The week of 9/11 in New York, Ahkami left her legal career to pursue her art. She participated in Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2004 and received an MFA from School of Visual Arts in NY in 2006. Ahkami’s art has been exhibited in the US and abroad in galleries and museums, and is in the permanent collections of The New Britain Museum of American Art, the Depaul University Art Museum, the Farjam Collection (UAE), and other private and corporate collections. Her work has been featured and reviewed in a variety of publications, including The New York Times and ArtNews.

My art is inspired by the patterns and ceramic textures in Iran’s ornate mosques. I use all-over pattern and obsessive mark-making expressively, to create unhinged, out of control spaces. My iconography over the years has explored neuroses of our times-- Islamophobia; Orientalism and Occidentalism; consumerism; climate change; and the impact of these phenomena on women. My ultimate quest, regardless of subject matter, is to unleash Persian art’s expressive potential.

In all my work, Persian art influences merge into associations with Western and Far Eastern art histories. The seamless global connections in my work underscore the relevance and connectivity of Persian art. I pay tribute to this Iranian art history that inspires me to no end, while also projecting a brutality and cartoonishness that contradicts the exquisiteness. I eschew the poetic sensibility that so characterizes Persian art in favor of a more direct and visceral visual language. Cacophony, rhythmic pattern and maximalism heighten drama and tension.

Maki Tamura

Born in Japan and raised in Indonesia, Maki Tamura received her MFA in painting from Tyler School of Art and BFA from the University of Washington. Her work has been shown nationally and internationally, including the Dallas Museum of Art, Seattle Art Museum, and Kunsthaus Baselland in Switzerland. Her work is in the public art collections of the Peter Norton Family Collection, Dallas Museum of Art, and the City of Seattle Portable Art Collection, to name a few. Maki Tamura is a recipient of the Joan Mitchell Foundation Fellowship in New York and the Artist Trust fellowship in Washington. She currently lives and works in Seattle.