An Interview with Katya Grokhovsky, Founding Director of The Immigrant Artist Biennial By Anna Mikaela Ekstrand
Launching across New York City in March 2020, The Immigrant Artist Biennial (TIAB): HERE, TOGETHER! will present multi-disciplinary exhibitions, panel discussions, and events highlighting the multiplicities of immigrant experiences and providing a platform for U.S.-based immigrant artists from around the world, across race and social class, to showcase their work.
Art Spiel in Dialogue with Elisa Gutiérrez Eriksen
Elisa Gutiérrez Eriksen has curated The process of calculating one’s position at NARS Foundation.This group show features NARS 2019 season IV residency artists: Esther Hovers, Niklas Asker, Jiin You, Tavi Meraud, Fiona McGurk, Dominique Doroseau, Martin Vongrej, Joonhong Min, Ella Weber, Martin Désilets, Sophie Dupont and Tali Keren. It runs through December 13th. The curator shares with Art Spiel the ideas behind the show, the artists, and a bit about the NARS Foundation venue.
The Spanish born NYC based artist Rosa Valado has prompted in her immersive installations multi-layered sensory experiences, utilizing diverse approaches, from the smell of burning wax and music to architectural elements and engineering problem solving. Throughout her body of work which includes besides installation, drawings and paintings, she has been exploring notions of space and time by engaging with ideas on architecture and light. Rosa Valado shares with Art Spiel some of her formative art experiences, her process, ideas, and projects.
Mixed media artist Jada Fabrizio is an insatiable story teller. Her appetite for narratives covers wide grounds and results in dioramas and photographs ranging from a domestic scene of a hen with a fried egg at hand, to a melancholy rabbit sprawling on an armchair. Fervently surreal and underscored with dark humor, these sculptural sets and photographs offer open-ended stories that tease us and draws us in. Jada Fabirzio shares with Art Spiel a bit about herself, her approach to art making, and what triggers her narratives.
In her lush paintings and complex installations Zahra Nazari draws largely on architecture and her Iranian roots both in terms of cultural heritage and personal experience as an immigrant, while utilizing gestural forms invoking early 20th modernists like Der Blaue Reiter (The Blue Rider) in Munich, or mid century Abstract Expressionists in NYC. This fertile amalgam of cultural cues makes her work current and thought provoking. Zahra Nazari shares with Art Spiel her experience as an artist, her approach to art making and some of her projects.
The grouping of mostly floor-bound sculptures in “Ground Histories”, the current group show curated by Will Corwin at PS122 Gallery, not only pulls our attention to the ground, but also makes us aware of what is underneath its surface – archaeological artifacts, graves, excavated memories. In the east room a triangular layout consisting of Will Corwin’s altar-like sculpture, Heidi Lau’s arched-shape ceramic sculpture sprawling, and David Goodman’s forte-like structure, create a sense of both tension and connectivity. Made of plaster and sand, painted with terra cotta and white tempera hues, and tied with rough ropes, Corwin’s “Jaw” is a rectangular free-standing sculpture that draws literally upon teeth and invokes the idea of the archaic – an architectural ruin from an unidentified culture, or an archaeological artifact with an enigmatic ritual significance. The tooth, a pivotal element in both forensics and bioarcheology, can be read in Corwin’s sculptures as a loaded metaphor for what it means to be human.
The Brooklyn based sculptor Yasmin Gur is fascinated with the process of upcycling materials such as reclaimed wood and transforming them into dimensional artforms which often respond to the site’s architecture. Gur is the producer for The Upcycle Junction Market, which gives her and ten other local artists a chance to take an active part in the urgent conversation about waste.
Ashley Garrett paints abstracted landscapes which resonate a sense of place – elusive and precise at the same time. Utilizing richer color and bolder gesture, Garrett ‘s recent body of work reveals an artist’s gaze inwards into a deeper psychological space. Ashley Garrett shared with Art Spiel her approach to painting and her upcoming projects.
Nancy Bowen‘s layered sculptures, installations, and collages coalesce stories of different cultures, of past and present. Her objects bring to mind a flavor of unidentified myths, archetypes and rituals, often involving images of the female body. The artist talks about her art making process, projects, and the way she sees her role as an art educator.
Tansy Xiao is a curator, artist, writer, translator, and an overtly out of the box thinker. She shares with Art Spiel some insights on her upcoming curatorial project at Radiator, her art-making, as well as translation and writing processes.
AS: Tell me a bit about yourself and what brought you to art – writing, translation, curation and making.
Tansy Xiao: I wasn’t properly schooled, neither did I consider myself an artist when I was travelling around and painting abstract murals in exchange for food and accommodation. Now you might call it an unprompted residency. During my long trips and brief sojourns, I would write book length letters to my friends, with a mutual understanding that they were not obligated to reply. I joined and formed communities, then left them, until I have relatively settled in New York, a city with such transience that the fear of being trapped in a constricted niche no longer haunts me. That’s when I began my practice as a curator and translator. If I were to describe my status quo now, I’d quote D. H. Lawrence’s last paragraph in Rainbow: