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Selected Artists - South Rim - October 2013 - October 2015
Our brilliant and happy 2013 South Rim Jury Panel!
Meet the Jury Panel!
J.T. Tannous- Executive Director: Coconino Center for the Arts, Flagstaff, Arizona
Judy Hellmich-Bryan - Chief of Interpretation, Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Kim Buchheit - graphic designer; mixed-media studio artist; curator; Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona
Susan Verkamp - writer; Taos, New Mexico
April Werner - painter; Taos, New Mexico
Fence and Elm Tree in a Dust Storm; Archival pigment print; 2013
October, 2013; media arts/photographer Kathleen Brennan; Rancho de Taos, New Mexico.
Kathleen has been studying photography since her childhood in New Jersey. In 1973 she moved to Albuquerque, where she earned a degree in photography from University of New Mexico. Kathleen has been living in Taos, New Mexico since 1992, and is an award-winning, frequently exhibited artist.
Kathleen's diverse body of work explores the idea of the transformative process of our world, both culturally and environmentally. She's interested in capturing the beauty of the subtle – in both her landscapes and portraits. She has photographed the high plains deserts decimated by the dust storms of the 1930s, the surgical scars on a woman undergoing breast cancer treatment, and the changing appearance of a man dying of AIDS. Her work tenderly exposes the vulnerability and strength of these diverse subjects in order to evoke a protective response from her viewers – with empathy comes action and advocacy.
While in-residence, Kathleen intends to document the four elements – earth, water, fire and air – as they sculpt the environment of the Grand Canyon ecosystems. She'll be working with soundscapes, video and time-lapse photography to create final work that expresses the transitory nature of the desert southwest, as well as the slow processes that literally and figuratively shape how people view this rarest of landscapes.
Kathleen: "The earth cannot exist without the natural elements and their delicate, fluctuating balances. However, as our world becomes increasingly urbanized, fewer people have first-hand experience of the complex, interacting natural forces that sustain life on our planet. I am drawn to portraying places, people and things we are apt to ignore as empty, old, or broken, in order to re-open our eyes to their beauty - and the impact on the earth of natual and manmade forces. My images are emotionally evocative – cultivating a sense of the preciousness of life. While at the Grand Canyon I intend to apply this focus to my work with the ultimate aim to evoke the experience of living amidst the elements in the Grand Canyon, with a goal of inspiring people to notice, appreciate and preserve."
Writer Elmaz Abinader with Brewster
November 1 - 24, 2013; writer Elmaz Abinader; Oakland, California.
Elmaz is an Arab-American, the child of parents dislocated from Lebanon to the US. Her work is inspired by the complexities of race, religion, and geography and how those are rooted in personal experience. She addresses such issues as occupations and disenfranchisement experienced by people dislocated from global places of conflict.
Elmaz teaches non-fiction, memoir and poetry at Mills College in Oakland, and is an award winning author, including a PEN Award for In the Country of My Dreams, and a Goldies Award for Literature. She was a Fulbright Scholar to Egypt, has conducted writing workshops in Palestine and has toured several countries with her plays (accompanied by the Country of Origin Band). She is the co-founder of the Voices of our Nations Arts Foundation, now in it's 15th year.
Elmaz's current project is a novel When Silence is Frightening (working title), which she will be working on while in-residence. This residency experience offers the dramatic change of place - an interesting shift for an artist in mid-project.
Elmaz: "I'm seeking a kind of dislocation myself – from my jam-packed and demanding life in a city to the inspiring visages of the Grand Canyon. My recent book of poetry parallels the shifts in the earth's surface to the changes in body, physical memory and sensory activity. My current novel investigates how shifting environments, especially radical changes, challenges the self. Nothing is static about the Grand Canyon – light and life shift constantly, the flux is brillant and disturbing -- like all changes. We as a people change the world by shifting ourselves – not though the large political acts but how we place ourselves, create our villages and use or misuse our lands. Although my stories take place in many countries, the sense of discontinuity is universal. I will explore these ideas while in-residence."
Stone carver Susan Zalkind from Camp Verde, Arizona will have a mini-residency from December 9th – 13th, 2013.
Susan and her husband Paul Hawkins were awarded a residency in 2012, and scheduled to be at the south rim in September of 2013. A few short months later, Paul was diagnosed with cancer. After months of alternating illness and robust health, Paul succumbed to his illness, surrounded by loved ones, on September 17th. The Grand Canyon community and Artist-in-Residence program extends our deepest sympathy to Susan and their family for this loss.
Susan will come for a full 3-week residency at some point in the not-too-distant future. During this short-term December opportunity, she will be in-retreat and working on personal projects; upon her return she'll present public programming.
Susan and Paul have been artistically adventurous collaborators for over 37 years. Quarrying their own translucent American Alabaster from sites in the southwest, they carved their stone vessels and sculptural pieces, creating elegant and evocative stone work. American Alabaster offers a full palette of colors; deep reds, light pinks, yellows, greens, purples, and black and white, which they sculpted into astoundingly exquisite forms. Their work process always starts in the hand gathering of the materials; an arduous task of digging and hauling each uncut rock over rubble piles and down steep canyons. They find this physically satisfying labor, allowing them to connect intimately with each piece of stone, creating a dialogue with the materials that helps define the direction of the final work. Using both hand tools and small grinders, yielding the thinnest possible stone pieces, their work has the illusion of movement, life and delicacy in spite of the weight and strength of the stone itself. Each original work reflects the subtly rich landscape of the deserts. Susan continues the legacy of the collaborative work she and Paul shared, creating these lovely and resonate stone pieces.
Please check back for information on dates and program information regarding Susan's return, three-week residency.
Composer James Romig
James was in-residence May, 2012, accompanied by his wife, pianist Ashlee. They return to the south rim in December to present a special concert of new compositions (plus some older original work) inspired by their Grand Canyon residency experience. This special concert will be on Thursday, December 19th, 7:00 p.m. at Shrine of the Ages, and is free and all-ages friendly.
James Romig composes music that endeavors to reflect the intricate complexity of nature, where fundamental structures exert influence on both small-scale iteration and large-scale design, obscuring the boundaries between form and content. His work shows the influence of academic study with Charles Wuorinen and Milton Babbitt, interaction with the natural world through hiking and photography, and an interest in chaos theory, fractal geometry, and small-world networks. Recent guest-composer visits include Northwestern University, the Aspen Institute, University at Buffalo, the Cincinnati Conservatory, the University of Illinois, Juilliard, and the American Academy in Rome. Residencies include Petrified Forest National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, and Copland House. He holds degrees from Rutgers University (PhD) and the University of Iowa (MM, BM), and has been on faculty at Western Illinois University since 2002.
pianist Ashlee Mack - sitting at Aaron Copland's piano
Pianist Ashlee Mack has given recitals in Germany, Italy, and across the United States. As a specialist of contemporary music, she has performed solo and chamber music with organizations such as the Society for Chromatic Art, Vox Novus, New Music Forum, Iowa Composers Forum, New Music Festival at Western Illinois University, Aspen Composers Conference at the Aspen Institute, PASIC, and SCI. She is a co-founder of the Khasma Piano Duo, dedicated to the performance of music from the 20th and 21st centuries. Mack's recordings of Odds and Ends by Robert Morris and For Milton by Christian Carey are featured on a Milton Babbitt memorial CD published by Perspectives of New Music/Open Space. Her recording of James Romig's Transparencies was recently released on Navona Records. Primary teachers include Lois Svard (Bucknell University), Michael Adcock (Washington, DC), and Alan Huckleberry (University of Iowa). She is currently the Coordinator of Piano Instruction at Knox College in Galesburg, Illinois.
Ashes 10; (one of 25 panels that complete the painting Ashes); Oil on clay board; 11" x 14"; 2012
December 22, 2013 - January 11, 2014; painter Monika Bittman; Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Born in Prague Czech Republic, Monika graduated from Hollar School of Art in Prague, and received her MFA in painting from the University of New Mexico
Monika’s work explores pattern in nature. She has constructed string sculptures that gave shape to bifurcation and mathematical formulas, drawn into wet gesso in order to understand patterns occurring on the surface of water and watched patterns emerge from repeated brush strokes.
Influenced by Japanese sumi-e painting and Chinese splash-ink painting, Monika’s current work involves manipulating thin oil paint on panels through tilting, dripping, smearing and blowing, allowing the viscosity of the paint, gravity and time to determine the work’s final result. The resulting images resemble forms found in nature and, although she doesn't paint from nature, her paintings frequently evoke nature.
Monika: "The Grand Canyon is a wonderful place to study natural patterns. For instance, the fractal design made by a path of trickling water can be observed in both a stream of raindrops eroding the ground at my feet as well as the grand shape of the canyon itself."
Monika's art is also about being present. "My painting process teaches me to be aware of what is unfolding moment by moment. It teaches me to closely observe my materials and allow them to reveal nature's inherent propensity to organize itself. This approach of witnessing and allowing rather than imposing, teaches me a way of being that is applicable to all kinds of situations, not just painting."
Nowadays our lives are so often driven by expectations that we can lose our ability to be open to what is actually happening. Visiting such an impressive site as the Grand Canyon, our expectations can prevent us from taking in our experience. On a recent winter visit to the canyon, I was surprised by an unexpected visual phenomenon. Just after sunset, I looked across the canyon from the south rim and suddenly saw emerald green in the atmosphere when I had expected only orange canyon walls and the purple-blue shadows of dusk. I look forward to opening to moments like this during my time in the canyon environment.”
Ekaterina Smirnovia working on Rainy Manhattan; watercolor painting; 90" x 104"; 2012
January 12 - 31, 2014; painter Ekaterina Smirnova; New York, New York.
Born and raised in Russia, Novosibirsk, Ekaterina has studied art, but graduated with a law degree. When Ekaterina arrived to the US, she continued her art education at the Art Students League of New York. Ekaterina is a widely exhibited and award-winning artist. This will be her first visit to the Grand Canyon.
Ekaterina is an atmospheric landscape painter. She's interested in the interplay between contrasting light against darkness – and how soft-focus on hard edged structures can result in both recognizable and abstracted locations. Ekaterina often paints her adopted hometown of New York, typically from elevated points of view, such as the observation decks of the Empire State Building, or Rockefeller Center. Most recently Ekaterina has been traveling, painting in cities throughout Asia, Europe and the United States.
Working with water-based paints, Ekaterina brushes, splashes, drips and puddles water and paint to create her atmospheric urban landscapes, aiming to capture transitional light and weather, engaging her energetic and physical painting technique. Glazing and repeatedly splashing the painting, Ekaterina creates very large-scale paintings using basic tools such as hardware brushes, rough textured paper, and sprayed, splashed or brushed-on water.
Ekaterina: "I am an atmospheric painter, and in my work I capture different shapes of water. Snow as another form of water is a part of the large natural system that is so radically changing the shape of the planet. Snow on the rocks of the Grand Canyon is maybe looking very innocent, but its power is not to be ignored. I intend to paint the different sides of snow, its beauty and danger, and hope to catch different weather from sunny days with reflective snow to severe snow blizzards during my winter residency".
Shadows That Build; acrylic on panel; 14" x 11"; 2010.
Kathryn's moody and narrative acrylic paintings evoke a mysteriously elusive mythology. Her spooky tableaus often feature famous artifacts from human history coupled with unsettling images of people and deer in parched and devastated landscapes. Her work discusses the tragic results of interaction between humans, animals and the earth, and reflects her concerns about environmental devastation, specifically related to climate change. Kathryn's paintings visually describe man's careless exploitation of the earth, and our inability to seek peace between each other and our shared planet. Kathryn also creates tiny and intimate bronze sculptures of human beings that evoke wandering and seeking, which she sometimes installs directly on top of her paintings.
Kathryn grew-up in Iowa, where she received a BFA from University of Iowa, and after working in New York City and London, settled in Bozeman, Montana. She is a much-exhibited and collected artist, and is a recent recipient of the Montana Arts Council Innovation Award (2012). She has been in-residence at the Djerassi Foundation (La Honda, CA; 2007 & 2011), Ucross Foundation (Ucross, WY; 1998 & 2004) and the Hungarian Multicultural Center (Budapest, Hungary; 2006).
Kathryn: "I have always been a proponent of art that carries content. But how to balance ideas and aesthetics is the question. The idea of this residency and my daily work is to find ways to address the things on my mind and speak in a timeless way. The issues that bombard us, after all, are the perennial ones, like dealing with power and resources. Shakespeare still speaks to us because we haven't changed, or change only slowly. Maybe E.O.Wilson says it best: 'We have a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology.' While in-residence I intend to continue working with figures in the landscape, with the Grand Canyon as a backdrop"
The Four Horsemen; oil on canvas; 116" x 214"; 2013
A widely exhibited and collected artist, Jay received his BFA from Kansas City Art Institute, and an MFA from the University of California, Davis; he recently retired as head of Montana State University's sculpture department.
Jay's large-scale, mixed-media paintings are visually raucous and appear aggressively cheerful, but upon closer inspection it's clear that his work is highly narrative and serious, addressing specific contemporary issues that concern him. His paintings comment on a wide variety of political, social and cultural issues ranging from criticism of unjust global financial structures to environmental catastrophe, with an emphasis on the blindly frantic consumerism that dominates our social structure.
Jay creates solo studio work, but is also vitally interested in collaboration; he is a member of the collaborative groups Paintallica and The Living Breathing Thing. Paintallica is a group of like-minded artists who gather periodically to brainstorm, and then pull together relatively spontaneous site-specific, mixed-media art installations, using found and fabricated objects and such unconventional tools as chainsaws and fire to create their short-lived pieces. The Living Breathing Thing is a smaller collaborative installation group project which includes drawing, performance, spectator participation, film and music, with the goal of facilitating art making in a free and intuitive environment. Jay's solo and collaborative work largely focuses on creating community and responding to cultural and social issues in real time.
Jay: "A carnival sensibility is a strong element in my work today. I view the world as being in a political, financial, social and environmental state of dysfunction. We seem unable to address the significant problems that face us. As a narrative artist I feel blessed to have the opportunity to address these issues and in some simple way to define my place in the world. The process of forming these concepts is a mysterious mixture involving intuition, a little anger and mischief, and of course, a little humor to smooth things out. The goal is to make a good painting or sculpture rather than a specific didactic statement. During my Grand Canyon residency I will focus on the issues affecting the environment and climate change, working directly from the landscape in plein air sessions."
Chicago, Illinois playwright and performing artist Scott Bradley will be in-residence February 23rd – March 15th, 2014.
Scott Bradley is the Creative Producer and co-founder of The Scotty & JoJo Show, a critically-acclaimed Chicago, Illinois based creative collaboration with Jonny Stax. The Scotty & JoJo Show develops theatrical entertainment to fuel social evolution, exploring American cultural iconography through a contemporary gender-queer lens, incorporating elements of comedy, puppetry, drag, spectacle, film, music, vaudeville, and dance. In addition to his work with the Scotty and JoJo Show, Scott has collaborated in the development of new plays and musicals, and devised theatrical works for a variety of American ensemble theaters from coast to coast. Scott is a member of the Dramatists Guild, AEA and SAG/AFTRA.
Scott: "Our National Parks offer opportunity for conversations amongst diverse populations, and the south rim offers our country's most epic theatrical event in this context, each year bringing millions of people from all over the globe together to share a moment of wonder, where cultural differences melt away for an instant. In that instant of shared experience is the possibility of transcendence.
As a gender-queer artist, I am interested in the spiritual cultures of the southwestern Native American populations and the role of the two-spirit, as well as the different cultural understandings of gender spectrums. I would like to learn how the Grand Canyon and its ecosystems inform this understanding, as a home and as a sacred space for the indigenous people of the southwest.
At the heart of all my work is a desire to propel social evolution toward greater understanding and compassion"
During his residency, Scott intends to explore the idea of temporary community and shared experience via informal contacts and interviews with park visitors and locals. He will also conduct storytelling workshops with local public school students. Within two years of his residency, Scott will return to the south rim to present a site-specific theatrical piece that celebrates the Grand Canyon as a place that invites conversation amongst disparate people. This work will incorporate elements of comedy, puppetry, drag, spectacle, music, vaudeville, and dance, celebrating the uncommon experience of temporary community and shared experience.
by Brack Morrow
Brack studied engineering (with an emphasis in sound mitigation) and mathematics, and has a BFA in sculpture and MFA in interdisciplinary practice; these disciplines come together in his beautifully constructed sculptural sound machines. An award-winning artist, arts educator and luthier, Brack's sound machines are carried or driven by remote control across a landscape, creating and collecting sounds, which then come together in complex, site-specific soundscapes. This work has taken him from the mouths of caves to the seashore, from remote sites above timberline high in the mountains to desert landscapes, collecting sounds unique to time and place.
Brack is bringing two of his sound machine sculptures to his residency – the Remote Station Violin and the EAR1. Remote Station Violin is a portable device constructed from string instruments and recording equipment, which Brack can carry into isolated, off-road wilderness settings. EAR1 - the Earth Aural Rover – is a remote-controlled recording device and musical instrument vehicle inspired by the ongoing mission of NASA's Curiosity. Both devices directly interpret ambient sounds as well as other measurable environmental data including temperature, humidity, wind speed, and vibration. Additionally they can be played like musical instruments.
Brack: "Every day we witness more and more of our planet's resources disappearing. It is good that we explore our universe and other planets; it is imperative that we also explore, understand, and appreciate the environment we call home. Creating new ways to contribute to how we perceive our environment will help inspire collaborations and establish creative sustainable solutions to our environmental issues. Using my recording machines combined with research into the areas of neuroscience, music, visual art and linguistics, I seek to explore and experiment using the languages of art and science. The geological record within the canyon ecosystem provides one of the greatest histories of our earth. My explorations will result in a unique, Grand Canyon soundscape profile, contributing to my on-going National Parks project."
During the three week residency Brack will explore the rim and inner Canyon trails with both the EAR1 and his portable recording devices. Working with local scientists, artists and the general public, Brack will combine scientific data and musical improvisation to create original canyon inspired compositions, which will be audibly recorded as well as documented with photography and film. When Brack is not in the field with his recording devices, his machines will be on display at Park Headquarters, open daily from 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
photo credit: Joanna White
Dread and Jenny are artists whose work examines contemporary social justice issues. They are a couple who share a studio but generally work solo or with other artists and groups, so this residency offers them the rare opportunity to work on a collaborative project.
Jenny's work is grounded in her formal background in architecture, and includes architectural installations, drawings, web-based work and interactive objects. She's invented a fictional architecture firm – Design for the Alien Within – which centers on the idea of creating (hypothetical) safe hiding places for at-risk people, specifically undocumented immigrants. This work reflects on her family history of immigration, and the upheaval, risk and unknown that comes with relocating into a new culture. With materials ranging from cardboard to paint to solar-powered runway approach lights, Jenny's work celebrates people's desire to help each other survive hostile environments and circumvent the systems that further subjugate the least powerful in our population. Working with the dichotomy of visibility and secrecy, Jenny's projects include interactive hiding places and temporary dwellings, as well as protective clothing created from discarded materials created by our financial institutions.
Jenny is originally from England; she received a BA in architecture from Cambridge University, and a Fine Art and Critical Studies BA from St. Martins School of Art in London before moving to New York to pursue her MFA in Visual Arts Studies from The School of Visual Arts. She is an award-winning and frequently exhibited and sited international artist.
Collaborative piece with Philadephia youth
Dread first received national attention in 1989 when his art became the center of controversy over its use of the American flag. The conversations that come from that public debate centered around this exhibit ultimately resulted in a Supreme Court case and a landmark First Amendment decision. His work focuses on the profound social polarization that has contributed to the exploitation and suffering experienced by billions of every-day humans, perpetrated by unjust social, political and global forces. Seeking to help humanity forge a radically different world without exploitation or oppression, Dread's work encourages the viewer to envision how the world could be by exposing people to how it is for the disenfranchised. He's created performance pieces that reflect on the fact that America is a country whose democracy is rooted in slavery, as well as work that examines the huge global systems that have created contemporary economic injustice.
Dread's work is widely exhibited, and he frequently presents at such varied venues as galleries, public spaces, radio and television shows and formal panels addressing the issues that are at the heart of his work. He received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, with additional studies at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Jenny and Dread: "Our work principally focuses on social questions facing humanity and science – including an interest in debates about the age of the Earth, and global climate change and all that it implies.
The 19th century American explorer John Wesley Powell who led early expeditions of the Grand Canyon developed the theory that the Colorado River originated before the canyons around it and eroded the plateaus as they rose, creating the landscapes we see today. Early scientists and explorers contributed to a radical shift in human understanding and were part of establishing the scientific method which is used in observing and understanding our world.
The history of controversy around the age of the Grand Canyon fascinates us. The vastness of the Grand Canyon offers both a literal and metaphoric expression of the age of the Earth; it is this narrative we will explore while in-residence. Developing time-based work in video and time-lapse still photos that embody the act of measuring layers, we will play with cinematographic conventions and begin to develop a new body of work."
While in-residence, Jenny and Dread will pursue their collaborative video and photography projects and spend time hiking and exploring, including research in the National Park archives and collections. They will present their work to local high school students and offer an Evening Program artist talk towards the end of their residency, in which they'll present in-progress new work, as well as older finished work. The Evening Program is scheduled for Sunday, April 27th, at Shrine of the Ages, 7:30 p.m.
Please check back for updated artist bios!
May 5 - 31, 2014; printmaker Jean Gumpper; Colorado Springs, Colorado.
June 1 - 21, 2014; found object & recycled material installation artist Jared Charzewski; Charleston, South Carolina.
June 22 - July 12, 2014; bronze sculptor Michael Naranjo; Albuquerque, New Mexico.
July 13 - August 2, 2014; writer Moosje Goosen; Rotterdam, Holland. (website in-process)
August 3 - 30, 2014; Chamber Music OC; pianist Kevin Kwan-Loucks; violinist Iryna Krechkovsky-Loucks; violist Michelle Gasworth; cellist Ross Gasworth; Irving/Orange, California.
September 1 - 21, 2014; photographer Ty Bowman; Artesia, California.
October 19 - November 8, 2014; wood sculptor Michael Bauermeister; Augusta, Missouri.
November 9 - 29, 2014; bricolage (mixed media) artist Polly Law; Kingston, New York.
December 21, 2014 - January 10, 2015; visual and conceptual artist Mel Ziegler; Nashville, Tennessee.
April, 2015; painter Robert Delegowski; Flagstaff, Arizona.
May, 2015; painter John Cogan; Farmington, New Mexico.
June, 2015; painter Melanie Vote; Brooklyn, New York.
July, 2015; photographer Robert Langham; Tyler, Texas.
August, 2015; drawing and printmaker Emma Stibbon; Bristol, UK.
September, 2015; painter Lisa Gilley; Nordland, Washington.
LOOKING AHEAD to this deferred residency!
December 15, 2015 - January 8, 2016; composer/performer Paul Kukuchi; Seattle, Washington.
Did You Know?
Within the Grand Canyon, the type and abundance of organisms is directly related to the presence or absence of water. The Colorado River and its tributaries, as well as springs, seeps, stock tanks and ephemeral pools provide oases to flora and fauna in this semi-arid southwest desert area.