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.
Aisha Tandiwe Bellis 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.
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.
Artist Jac Lahav in dialogue with NAVA Contemporary about working for over a decade painting portraits of Ruth Bader Ginsburg
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.
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.
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.
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.
Soon after the Corona pandemic hit NYC, a resourceful and talented group of NY based artists came together to create an informal collective called artists-X-change (aXc) with the aim to alleviate the growing distress that both artists and art organizations have been facing. They were united by a sense of urgency — the severity of the situation coupled with the need to help others in their community.
Will Hutnick is an artist, curator, co-director of Ortega Y Gasset Projects in Brooklyn from 2015 to 2020 and Director of Artistic Programming at the Wassaic Project upstate NY. In his paintings Will Hutnick is using rollers, and includes other mono-printing-like methods to create repetitive passages which form playful and unexpected relationships between shapes and colors. He shares with Art Spiel some of his work process, reflections on the ways his paintings have developed, and some of his other art related practices.
Jana Astanov is an interdisciplinary artist, a poet and an independent curator born in Poland, and living in the US. She is a founder of CREATRIX Magazine, portal for creative expression focused on art, activism and spiritual practice. Her work includes photography, poetry, performance art, sound art, and installation. In her work, she utilizes spiritual traditions, somatic movement, sound art, ritualistic theatre and Astrofeminism, a term she has developed through her character Yannanda The One Who Speaks With The Stars. Together with her partner Niko van Egten she co-created an electronic music group ASTRALOOP featuring her poetry in dark electronic arrangements. She has performed at Tate Modern, Smack Mellon Gallery, Grace Exhibition Space, Venice Biennale, Documenta 2017, and many other galleries, festivals and independent venues worldwide. She is also the author of five collections of poetry: Antidivine, Grimoire, Sublunar, The Pillow Book of Burg, and Birds of Equinox. In this interview for Art Spiel Jana Astanov discusses her ideas on performance art and specifically on her most recent upcoming curatorial project ALEMBIC: Body and Spirit. Live Art as Healing Art.