Nancy Elsamanoudi in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center

In Dialogue with Nancy Elsamanoudi


Artist at home with paintings during lockdown, May 2020

Nancy Elsamanoudi says she was drawn to painting because of its fluid relationship to time from the viewer’s and the painter’s perspectives alike. The viewer gets a visceral sense of the painter’s vision in the past, and the painter experiences the fluidity of time throughout the process of painting. Elsamanoudi further specifies: “when you paint, you can, so to speak, go back and forth through time, adding layers-submerging the past or revealing the past by scraping or stripping away previous layers.”

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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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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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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

A person standing in front of a curtain

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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

A picture containing table, sitting, small, little

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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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Lacey McKinney in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center

In Dialogue with Lacey McKinney


Lacey McKinney at McColl Center for Art + Innovation, 2019,.Courtesy Chris Edwards Photography

Lacey McKinney who resides in Upstate New York, is drawn to the alchemy of processes like painting and alternative photography. For the last several years, McKinney has worked within the framework of painting, using figuration to reference embodiment. Usually splitting her time between working in the studio and teaching, this year she feels lucky enough to embark on a one-year teaching sabbatical, which has given her extra time for experimentation with other media such as using cyanotype process to make photograms that incorporate into collage and mixed media works. The artist shares some insights on her body of work in Domestic Brutes, the all women group show at the Pelham Art Center which engages the visitor with diverse approaches of what feminism means in American society today.

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Fay Ku in Domestic Brutes at Pelham Art Center

In Dialogue with Fay Ku

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May 2020. The artist lives and shares a studio with her partner, who is a musician. She is usually on the other side of her worktable, or else he wouldn’t have been able to sneak this photo of her.

For Taiwanese born artist, Fay Ku, the single, most formative event in life was immigrating to the United States. Ku says that if she had stayed in Taiwan, she would never have become an artist so she would have been a completely different person. It still surprises her how much this one event which she was too young to remember (though of course remembering all its aftershocks), shapes her work, often without her being consciously aware of the themes and issues at the time of making the work. Fay Ku shares some insights on her body of work in Domestic Brutes, the all women group show at the Pelham Art Center which engages the visitor with diverse approaches of what feminism means in American society today.

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The Bold Women of Elvira Bach

Elvira Bach, Untitled, 1982, Acrylic on paper, 88 x 62 cm | 34 2/3 x 24 1/2 in,

In the context of the global feminist art of today there are a few trailblazers who continue to work and dazzle with their exuberance. Immediacy and mastery of visual resolution signal such fast-paced and intuitive artists. German-born Elvira Bach is one of them. Bach has created a striking painterly style that catches the eye and stimulates further contemplation. For a viewer, Bach’s expressiveness establishes an immediate and deep bond with the traditions of the German Expressionism, embodying in her paintings the Expressionists’ core principle – namely, depicting the artist’s inherent conflicts within the society and within herself. For Elvira Bach urgency of expression, empathy, and visual projection of deep inner strength are important attributes.

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