The Immigrant Artist Biennial (TIAB) is a volunteer, female-led, artist-run project. TIAB 2020 launched in March in New York City at Brooklyn Museum, and continued in September through December at EFA Project Space, Greenwood Cemetery, and virtually, presenting 60+ artists. This interview series features 10 participating artists.
Abena Motaboli is a Southern African born educator, visual artist, and writer based in Chicago. She grew up in Lesotho, a landlocked country in Southern Africa, before moving to the U.S where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts at Columbia College Chicago and at L’Institut Catholique de Paris in Paris, France. With a strong commitment to social justice work in the South and West sides of Chicago and being an immigrant, her artwork comments on displacement, immigration, the African diaspora, and the loss of the sense of home. In her intricate plastic installations and meditative line-work in her paintings, she uses ephemeral material such as plastic, tea, dirt, and coffee to comment on colonialism, past memories, and the culture of creating.
Gal Nissim creates collaborative experiential multi media installations which stimulate the visitor to track and decode the behaviors of animals through audio-visual patterns, ranging from a colony of living ants in a gallery space to wild life in Central Park. Nissim shares with Art Spiel her fascination with the link between science and art, some insight into her elaborate collaborative process, and on her projects. Our interview process had been taking place before the pandemic and the artist was given an opportunity to bring her responses fairly up to date.
Julie Peppito‘s visceral and imaginative installations refer to our ecological, cultural, and political environments through explosive colors, textured surfaces, and interconnected loopy forms. Julie Peppito recalls how growing up in Oklahoma and later moving to NYC impacted her development as an artist. She shares some of her thought process, her work as an activist, and some of her projects.
Alicja Gaskon has just returned from an excursion to the border dividing North Korea and South Korea, a No man’s land where she has discovered a reality which reminded her unexpectedly of her European roots and will become an entry point for a new body of installation work. This is one of many excursions Gaskon has experienced and explored in her work. She shares with Art Spiel some of her explorations, the ways she mines her experiences, and her upcoming projects.
M. David & Co. ,Cosmic Veggies, El Sótano, C&M Creative
M. David & Co.
So certainly sonorous that it’s surely a song is the duet of solo shows by Len Bellinger and Denise Sfraga that didn’t just open, but robustly, vividly, gregariously and, in part, also florally burst into being at M. David & Co. a couple of weeks ago. The energy and dynamism of the works in both exhibits is readily infectious, such that the reception itself assumed the same airs. That might’ve even been what catalyzed some of the springtime climes we’ve felt of late. And if so, great. Let’s see more, please.
Jackie Mock’s recent body of sculptures and installations is currently featured in her solo show, “I Want to Believe,” at Proto Gomez. Mock is a visual story teller who frequently mines in her work offbeat narratives from American history to question notions of authenticity and belief. For Art Spiel the artist elaborates on her exhibition and shares some ideas on her art.
“Please Watch Your Head” reads a curious sign taped to the metal door of Ortega y Gasset Projects in Gowanus, Brooklyn. Opening the door I realize how this instruction is essential to navigate the jewel toned gauntlet of brick-a-brack curtains cascading from the ceiling in a slender corridor that leads to the main gallery space. Ben Pederson’s solo show “Some Stuff You Forgot About” represents two mature bodies of work which reveal the depth of Pederson’s philosophical approach, as well as the synergy between the artist and the curator Eleanna Anagnos.
In Valerie Hegarty’s work, autobiography, history, and art history merge seamlessly into engaging installations with a distinct sense of place – visceral and subtle, layered and focused. An inquisitive rigor runs through her work, stirring in the viewer an appetite for more. Valerie Hegarty shared with Art Spiel some thoughts on art making, her own art journey, and some of her upcoming projects.
Beth Dary‘s sculptures, installations and drawings have in common deep layers of meaning, imaginative combinations of materials, and subtle delicacy in form and color. Her insatiable curiosity in exploring diverse materials and processes results in a wide array of formal expressions, ranging from ceramics to photography; fabric to glass. She shares with Art Spiel some insight into her work throughout the years, her process explorations, and her upcoming projects.
Christine Romanell’s fascination with science and math is evident in her artwork. Her installations typically involve kinetic elements, light, and at times she is also collaborating with scientists, engineers, or other artists. Romanell shares with Art Spiel the impetus for her work, process, and exhibitions, including her current exhibition at “Everything Is Connected” at 1978 Maplewood Arts Center in NJ, a culmination of a year of work investigating rotational symmetry.