In Dialogue with Eric Fallen, Founder and Executive Director
Amy Butowicz solo show Boudoir Theatre at Peninsula Art Space features a collection of domestically scaled sculptures staged as a group of characters which are readily associated with notions of sensuality, ornamentation, and haute couture. Bulging cushion-like forms, meticulously hand-stitched over wooden structures, display intricate patterns and rich material suggestive of bedding, vanities, corsets and human anatomy. Bold and tender simultaneously, these anthropomorphic forms defy the disdain and fear that are frequently imposed upon feminine artforms, spaces, and bodies. Eric Fallen, founder and executive director of the Red Hook based Peninsula Art Space elaborates on Amy Butowicz’s exhibition and on his art venue.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.