Sharon Madanes in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center

In Dialogue with Sharon Madanes


Selfie in studio

Sharon Madanes grew up in Chicago in a family of physicians and was exposed to both art and medicine from a young age – her first job was helping to package sterilized surgical equipment. She also spent weekends at the Art Institute of Chicago taking art classes and wandering through the collection. She has always found the strange forms and aesthetics of medical settings fascinating: “as a painter and physician, I’m currently making work about this very juxtaposition, exploring different elements of hospital and medical culture through paint,” she says. Sharon Madanes is participating in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center.

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Maria de Los Angeles in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center

In Dialogue with Maria de Los Angeles

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Artist in her Studio. Photo by Ryan Bonilla 2019 . Photo by Ryan Bonilla 2019

Maria de Los Angeles says she feels very blessed to be included in the Domestic Brutes exhibition at the Pelham Art Center. A DACA recipient, she grew up undocumented and currently she is working on getting her citizenship, looking forward to contributing by voting for the first time. “Since I arrived to this country 20 years ago, I have looked forward to Voting. I love this county and consider it my home and can’t wait to do my part by helping elect new people. I truly believe we can build a better future together,” she says.

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Aisha Tandiwe Bell in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center

In Dialogue with Aisha Tandiwe Bell

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Aisha Tandiwe Bell is interested in the many manifestations of the traps of race, sex, and class. She makes drawings, paintings, ceramic sculptures, installations, and performance work that examine the metaphors and the allegory that this trap manifests. In her newest work Aisha Tandiwe Bell’s is looking at how one might negotiate traps, utilizing shape shifting, and code-switching as well as looking at identifying markers that both separate and unify. She says, “I am a Black African American Jamaican Woman Artist Wife and Mother. These are all categories that I consistently juggle and negotiate in a white male dominated space.” Aisha Tandiwe Bell is participating in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center.

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Melissa Stern in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center

In Dialogue with Melissa Stern

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NYC Studio, with the sculpture WIG SHOP

Melissa Stern is an artist, working in mixed materials and across genres. She is interested in ideas that are simultaneously funny and dark- that is, “work that might make you smile or laugh, but with a wee bit of discomfort,” as she puts it. Much of her work of recent years focuses on home and childhood and the ways in which our childhoods and our memories haunt our lives. She works in clay, found objects, wood, metal collage and various drawing materials. Her goal is that the materials she uses are at the service of the ideas. On a different note she says, “I am an only child, raised by older parents who were first generation Americans. My mother desperately wanted to be ‘American’. My father was very connected to his European heritage. This push and pull; between belonging and being an outsider has profoundly influenced my life as an artist.” Melissa Stern is participating in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center.

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Jac Lahav – on RGB

Artist Jac Lahav in dialogue with NAVA Contemporary about working for over a decade painting portraits of Ruth Bader Ginsburg


Jac Lahav, Red Hope, from 48 Jews, oil on canvas, 24×24 in, 2017

The recent death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg shocked us all. Artist Jac Lahav has painted portraits of RBG for over a decade. In this interview with NAVA Contemporary he discusses his thoughts on RBG, iconography, and a way forward during these challenging times.

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Tirtzah Bassel in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center

In Dialogue with Tirtzah Bassel

Tirtzah Bassel grew up in Israel, the oldest of eight in a Jewish Orthodox family. Her father is a traditional scribe and her mother, a ballet dancer by training, was the homemaker when they were growing up. Although both of her parents were very creative and the value of making things by hand was instilled early on, she didn’t know any professional artists and had no concept that making art was something she could do as an adult. This changed when she took a night class at the Jerusalem Studio School in her early twenties. She recalls how she was immediately drawn to the intensity of the atelier-style learning environment, drawing and painting from observation, and the methods of the Old Master paintings. She later decided to pursue an MFA at Boston University and subsequently moved to Brooklyn. “Perhaps it was the continuous traversing of worlds – religious and secular, Israel and the US, Hebrew and English – that led me to ground my work in close observation of seemingly mundane situations,” she says.

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Diana Schmertz in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center

In Dialogue with Diana Schmertz

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Diana Schmertz in front of America’s Social Contract at Novado Gallery. Laser cut watercolor painting on paper, 7 panels painted front & back, 28 x 16 inches each ©2017

Diana Schmertz has always been interested in systems that people create to organize what they perceive in the world around them — based in science, religion, psychology, philosophy or politics. The artist says that no matter how cerebral a system or an idea may appear, it is always experienced through our physical senses and in order to communicate balance between reason and senses, she paints imagery of the body expressing emotional understanding juxtaposed with systems of verbal and/or mathematical reasoning. In Domestic Brutes, the women group show at Pelham Art Center Diana Schmertz shows a painting installation. Her virtual artist talk hosted by PAC is scheduled for October 8th.

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Ashley Norwood Cooper in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center

In Dialogue with Ashley Norwood Cooper

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”How to Draw Your Shoe”, oil on panel, 36” x 30”, 2020.

Ashley Norwood Cooper is an artist and a mother, raising three teenagers in a small town in upstate NY. Her paintings have always dealt with family and home and how the personal connects us to the global and political. She is interested in the schizophrenic role of the artist-mother-wife-teacher and in how to redefine the heroic from a woman’s perspective. Ashley Norwood Cooper is participating in Domestic Brutes and she will present her work in a virtual studio visit hosted by Pelham Art Center on Thursday, October 15th, 5-6pm.

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Manju Shandler in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center

In Dialogue with Manju Shandler


Manju Shandler working on Persistent Mothers in her studio in Brooklyn, NY 2020. Photo Stephen Estrin.

Manju Shandler creates symbolic art that speaks to current events. Building upon established storylines from myth, religion, and history, her mixed media artworks create richly layered narratives that reflect on our dense and complicated times. Shandler believes people are natural storytellers that make sense of the world through by mining both personal experience and collective memories that have been passed down. Her work dips into this well. Training as a theatre designer helps her to envision installations and her background as a puppet builder informs how she approaches building objects. Identifying as a mother seeps into everything she does.

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Here and Hereafter – Lydia Viscardi at Five Points Gallery


Lydia Viscardi, Maybe Hereafter, detail, photo courtesy Jeanne Tremel

Lydia Viscardi’s scintillating multimedia tarpaulins festoon the airy, post-retail environs of Five Points Gallery in Torrington CT. This quaint looking old mill town straight out of middle America may seem an unlikely destination for contemporary visual art, but Viscardi’s new work is worth a trip to the hinterlands. Ostensibly Viscardi’s imagery encompasses the weighty notion of life after death, but I was inspired by their joie de vivre.

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