May 27, 2016
Highlights from the Sharpe-Walentas Open Studios
Blouin Art Info Blogs, 05/25/2016
Taylor Dafoe


Highlights from the Sharpe-Walentas Open Studios
Blouin Art Info Blogs, 05/25/2016
Taylor Dafoe

Last weekend the artists of the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program opened their doors for open studios.

The Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation (renamed the Sharpe-Walentas in 2014) was founded in 1984, and each year awards 17 artists studio spaces in Brooklyn for a 12-month residency. The studio program is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Located in Dumbo, the studios are in a converted industrial space with tall windows opening out to cobblestone streets, old factory buildings, and the underbelly of the Brooklyn Bridge. There is a palpable history of art-making in the space, from the paint-covered windowpanes to the list of previous occupants posted outside every studio door. The program has hosted many notable names, including N. Dash, Josephine Halvorson, Dorothea Rockburne, Josiah McElheny, Sarah Sze, and Mira Schor, among others.

This year’s residents include Yezgeniya Baras, Maria Berrio, Julia Bland, Mike Cloud, Cesar Cornejo, Michael Dixon, Chris Domenick, Austin English, Steffani Jemison, Aliza Nisenbaum, Norm Paris, Kara Rooney, Victoria Roth, Jessica Segall, Tomas Vu, Nat Ward, and Zachary Wollard.

Here’s a look into some of the 2016 open studios highlights:

Nat Ward taps into the lineage of narrative travel photography with his new work, a series of poignant glimpses into the community of Delray Beach, Florida, called the “drug recovery capital” of the United States.

Kara Rooney’s work mixes sculpture, photography, performance, and video with a postminimalist sensibility to explore the interconnectedness of memory and language. Her sculptural works demand extended viewing, often including elements that one might miss with a cursory look. For instance, her oblong plaster and ceramic pieces feature small photographs inset into the plaster, offering little moments of reflection — literally and figuratively — in the otherwise rough surface.

The new paintings of Michael Dixon riff on the tropes of self-portraiture while investigating conventional depictions of racial identities.

Cesar Cornejo brings an architectural background to his sculptural work. One of his favored motifs is the elongated skull, an evolutionary anomaly traced back to the artist’s home country of Peru. Cornejo sculptures are often arranged in stacks, a symbol of systematic fragility in national and international economies and cultures.

Victoria Roth’s large oil paintings land on the line between figuration and abstraction. If you look long enough you will begin to make any number of visual associations — art historical and otherwise — but just as quickly the surface shifts again into abstraction.

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Associated Artist

Associated Exhibitions

  • The Narrative Figure Featuring Esteban Cabeza de Baca, Michael Dixon, Jeffrey Hargrave, Daisy Quezada, and Justice Whitaker
    May 10, 2016 - July 4, 2016

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January 17, 2017
Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts
J. Willard Marriott Library
The University of Utah, 01/17/2017

The University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library will host the art exhibition Globalocation: Celebrating 20 Years of Artnauts, Jan. 20-March 3.

Artnauts, an art collective formed 20 years ago by George Rivera, professor of art and art history at the University of Colorado, Boulder, consists of 300 global artists who serve as goodwill ambassadors, acknowledging and supporting victims of oppression worldwide. Their creativity has generated over 230 exhibitions across five continents. Five faculty members from the U’s Department of Art and Art History are members of the collective, Sandy Brunvand, Beth Krensky, V. Kim Martinez, Brian Snapp and Xi Zhang.

Globalocation derives from “Globalocational Art” — a concept used by the Artnauts to refer to their exhibitions in international venues. It is the mission of the Artnauts to take art to places of contention, and this anniversary exhibition is a sample of places where they have been and themes they have addressed.

“The Artnauts could not exist without the commitment of the artists in the collective to a common vision of the transformative power of art,” said Rivera. “The Artnauts make their contribution with art that hopefully generates a dialogue with an international community on subjects that are sometimes difficult to raise.”

Krensky, associate department chair of the Art and Art History Department, had the opportunity to travel with Rivera in Chile as part of an Artnauts project, working with mothers who were searching for their children who had mysteriously disappeared during a time of political unrest.

“When I travelled to Chile in 1998, George and I spent an afternoon with the Mothers of the Disappeared, and the meeting changed my life,” said Krensky. “It was from that moment on that I placed a picture of them on my desk to look at every day. I was so moved by what they each had lost — a son, a brother, a father — and yet what remained for them was a deep, deep well of love. They were fierce warriors and stood up to the government to demand the whereabouts and information of the people who had disappeared, but they lived within profound love.”

The 20th anniversary exhibition at the Marriott Library is a retrospective of the traveling works the Artnauts have toured around the globe. The exhibition will be located on level three of the library. The opening reception is open to the public and will be held on Friday, Jan 20, 4-6 p.m. Rivera will speak at 4 p.m.

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