ISE NY Grant Program 2016 Fall Grantee

Axle Contemporary

Exhibition’s Title: E Pluribus Unum: Dinétah


E Pluribus Unum: Dinétah, Portrait #1, Axle Contemporary, 2016, Photography

Venue: Navajo Nation Museum, Window Rock, AZ

Exhibition Date: June 17, 2017 -

Curator: N/A

Artist: Axle Contemporary, a collaboration between Jerry Wellman and Matthew Chase-Daniel


In 2015, artists Matthew Chase-Daniel and Jerry Wellman, working together collaboratively as Axle Contemporary, were invited by the Navajo Nation Museum to bring their mobile art creation and distribution project to the Navajo Nation. They chose to create a new iteration of their E Pluribus Unum project which had originated in 2012 in response to an invitation from SITE Santa Fe to participate in an exhibition there (Time/Lapse/MARCH 2012). The art projects create visual portraits of a diverse community by inviting to everyone in a given place and time to share their faces and special objects in quick, easy-going and spontaneous portrait sessions in the Axle Contemporary mobile studio-gallery.

Axle Contemporary’s free portrait studio, E Pluribus Unum: Dinétah, was open to all people, in locations on and near the Navajo Nation in New Mexico and Arizona from September 2 through September 13, 2016, visiting Gallup, Prewitt, Toadlena, Window Rock, Chinle, Shiprock, and Farmington. Participants entered the mobile studio and sat for a portrait photograph, holding an object of personal significance which ranged from a photos on cell-phones, family heirlooms, a chicken, ceremonial objects, weaving tools, car parts, and personal artworks . Each participant was immediately given a print of their portrait (for free). Another was pasted to the exterior of the mobile gallery, creating a growing and visually stunning community portrait.

A book will be published with the entire collection of over 800 photographs, writing by participants about the phrase “e pluribus unum”, and a singular image on the cover created by blending the hundreds of individual portraits. A poem by Navajo Nation Poet Laureate Laura Tohe will be the frontespiece of the book which will also include essays by the artists and Navajo Nation Museum director, Manuelito Wheeler. Copies of the book will be distributed for free to all of the participants and to local libraries, and will also be available for purchase.

The entire project will be exhibited at the Navajo Nation Museum in Window Rock, AZ in the summer of 2017. The exhibition will include all of the individual portraits, the blended image, the writings from the book, and photographs of the project in-action.

More information on the project is here:
And a first-look preview of the portraits is here:

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ISE NY Grant Program 2016 Spring Grantees

Candace Hicks

Exhibition’s Title: The Locked Room


“The Locked Room” Installation view, Candace Hicks, 2016

Venue: Living Arts, Tulsa, Oklahoma

Exhibition Date: October 7th – 27th, 2016

Curator: N/A

Artist: Candace Hicks

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My background is book arts, which is inherently interactive, and for years I have experimented with non-traditional book materials. Recent projects combine a wide assortment of media to produce an installation that reads like a book and plays like a video game.  Exploiting the interactivity of games, the pieces combine to form a puzzle with moving parts and riddles to decipher.  Visitors work together in the gallery to solve the puzzles.  More and more people are experiencing the reading of books and the playing of games with the same devices now (mobile tablets and smart phones), but this installation brings people together rather than isolating them with their technology.  An intimate, personalized experience becomes an immersive and shared experience in the gallery setting.

I exaggerate the tropes of an exhibition that one might expect to see with copious amounts of wall text that communicate a loopy narrative of coincidental occurrences, floor tape that indicates how one should move through the space, and seemingly empty pedestals that actually contain interactive, animated illusions modeled after antique optical toys.  It’s a combination that highlights the fact that art is always in some sense surreal and is only activated by the viewer’s attention.  The viewer pieces together the clues and follows the repeated elements to make sense of a story told in space.  Viewers will solve the clues to find the solution to the puzzle while being immersed in the story.  Clues are embedded in the optical illusions and woven into the text.  Modeled after popular “escape games,” the final clue unlocks a metaphorical door housed within a door-shaped sculpture.  Overall, The Locked Room requires audience participation and interactivity.

The components exploit optical phenomena and make use of illusions.  Moving parts are controller by microprocessors and small electronics.  Some use hacked toys or record players to animate the interiors.  It includes zoetropes, flip books, holograms, and other unnamable inventions such as an Edward Hopper painting built in 3D and made to appear to be floating on the ocean.  All of the work was developed from a series of experiments with optical phenomena and a desire to explore the surreal in historical artworks.

ISE NY Grant Program 2015 Fall Grantees

Alejandro Morales

Exhibition’s Title: La Arquitectura del Sexo (The Architecture of Sex)


Installation Views of La Arquitectura del Sexo (The Architecture of Sex), Photo Credit: Proyectos Impala

Venue: Proyectos Impala, Parque Central & Universidad Autónoma de Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico

Exhibition Date: April 6 – May 25, 2016

Curator: Alejandro Morales

Artist: Kurt Hollander


Although it’s hard to generalize about cities and cultures there are several reasons why people in Cali might very well enjoy more, better sex than people in most cities around the world. The fact that Cali basks in intense, year-round tropical heat, which allows women to strut their stuff in the skimpiest clothes and keeps people sweating long into the night; that even complete strangers call each other papi, mami and amor; that Cali is Colombia’s “blackest” major city; that the sensuality and beauty of local women is praised in dozens of Salsa songs; that most everyone learns to dance when they’re young and are thus great movers and shakers; that the city has long produced some of the world’s finest athletes, beauty queens and actresses; that the mega-industry of plastic surgery in Cali has inflated the proportions of women’s curves to unimagined dimensions; that the sugar eaten here is raw and delicious; that the coke produced here is pure and cheap; that an incredible variety of local fruits are known to act as aphrodisiacs, and a local alcohol made by indigenous and black communities from green sugar cane is famous for inciting sexual activity; that in the dozens of sex shops inexpensive pharmaceutical and natural sex drugs are readily available; that in porn theaters in the city female or transvestite prostitutes are available to accompany your viewing pleasure; that prostitution is legal and that there are dozens of houses and bars that cater to all income levels; that hundreds of pre-pago call-girls offer their services online 24 hours a day; and that there are affordable, extravagant love motels throughout the city that promote safe sex; all combine to inspire locals to enjoy sexual activity as often as possible within the city of Cali.


With its theme rooms based on Egyptian fertility temples, Greek Dionysian temples, Roman orgies, Arab harems, Oriental pagodas, Japanese geishas and Las Vegas whorehouses, the Motel Kiss Me, with more than 150 rooms, provides a faithful recreation of the history of the architecture of sex. Many of the most popular rooms here evoke ancient cultures that promoted an intimate, inspirational relationship between architecture, art and sex. But we can also find rooms with Dinosaurs or the Polar room with icicles hanging down from the ceiling, a fantasy escape from the sweltering heat of the city, there are also rooms that represent countries around the world: Germany (complete with a wall paintings of Hitler and a VW bug), Argentina (soccer players and tango singers), France (Eiffel tower), Spain (the bed is located within a bullfight ring), Venezuela (life-sized figures of Fidel and Chavez standing arm in arm in front of oil fields), Iraq (Saddam with more oil fields) and the USA (life-sized sculptures of George Bush and Osama Bin-Laden standing in front of the World Trade Center towers in flames). Kurt Hollander gives us an incredible documentation of how architecture and sex shapes an entire city and its philosophy.

Installation Views of La Arquitectura del Sexo (The Architecture of Sex), Photo Credit: Proyectos Impala

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Moving Exhibition Venue: Photo Credit: Proyectos Impala

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Works: Untitled 2, Kurt Hollander, 2014, Archival Ink on paper, 20 x 30”, Untitled 4, Kurt Hollander, 2014, Archival Ink on paper, 20 x 30”, Untitled 10, Kurt Hollander, 2014, Archival Ink on paper, 20 x 30”

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Cat Del Buono

Exhibition’s Title: Voices


“Voices” Video monitors and sound. Installation view at Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Gallery at Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC

Venue: Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Gallery at Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC

Exhibition Date: January 21 – March 11, 2016

Curator: Karen Derksen

Artist: Cat Del Buono


My exhibit, Voices, is a 20-monitor video installation and a panel discussion addressing domestic violence. This is a topic that is not often openly discussed openly in local communities or in the arts. Therefore, I created a social practice project that utilizes art as a focal point for an open public dialogue about an ongoing social problem. And Winthrop University invited me to exhibit and host a panel discussion at their gallery.

While in Rock Hill, I will be working with local domestic violence organizations to film survivors recounting their stories of domestic abuse and then adding their voices to the project. On several small video monitors, the mouths of survivors are displayed as they speak of their own personal experience. Showing only their mouths keeps them anonymous and keeps the focus on what is being spoken. The monitors surround the gallery walls so when visitors enter, they hear a symphony of unrecognizable words. Only when they approach a single monitor do they begin to hear the individual’s story and have a one-on-one experience. The necessity of this movement functions as a metaphor: we are not aware of victims in our own social circles until we become close enough for them to tell us their story.

Studies show that humans react more strongly when seeing images versus text. Consequently, using visuals is a more affective way of raising awareness and promoting change. As a social practice artist, I use Voices as a way for viewers to experience the reality of an ongoing issue. The project transforms victims from statistics to real people.

In conjunction with the installation, a panel will be held on the opening night of the exhibition. This important part of the project allows the community to ask questions and hear from survivors, advocates, and art professionals speaking of traumatic events, recovery, and how art can be a catalyst for change. I’m particularly excited to engage university students for the first time, since education and awareness about violence at a young age is critical.

I am in the process of inviting domestic violence professionals, law enforcement, survivors, and journalists to join the panel. Currently, advocate and star of documentary “Private Violence” Kit Gruelle is confirmed. Also, the Pulitzer Prize winning journalists from Post and Courier have been contacted. They are an important part of the project and being able to provide for them is a necessity. The University has a small budget, but I am in need of funding to pay for the panelists travel and participation and the expenses that go beyond the university budget.

Being a daughter of a domestic violence victim, this is something I am very familiar with. The project stemmed from being a socially engaged artist wanting to influence change and give a voice to the voiceless. The opportunity to have this solo exhibit at Winthrop University is a life changing experience for me as an emerging female social practice artist. With the ISE grant, this exhibit and panel will be a success.

Installation View of “Voices” at Elizabeth Dunlap Patrick Gallery at Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC

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Panel Discussion at January 21, 7pm at Dina’s Place in DiGiorgio Campus Center

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ISE NY Grant Program 2015 Spring Grantees

Nancy Cohen

Exhibition’s Title: Hackensack Dreaming

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Nancy Cohen, installation photo of “Hackensack Dreaming” in the Visual Arts Gallery of New Jersey City University *Photographer: Edward Fausty

Venue: Visual Arts Gallery, New Jersey City University, Jersey City, NJ, USA / Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education, Philadelphia, PA, USA / The Power Plant Gallery at Duke University, Durham, NC, USA

Exhibition Date: September 15 – October 22, 2015 (New Jersey City University)

Curator: Midori Yoshimoto (New Jersey City University) / Christina Catanese (Schuylkill Center) / Caitlin Kelly (Powerplant Gallery)

Artist: Nancy Cohen

Concept: I’ve spent time this last decade following the waterways of New York and New Jersey, finding the contradictions of “nature” in my urban environment endlessly interesting. My upcoming exhibition at New Jersey City University (which will travel to the Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education in Philadelphia and the Power Plant Gallery at Duke University) is created in response to the beauty, fragility and other worldliness of the Mill Creek Marsh in the Meadowlands of Secaucus, NJ.

The part of the Hackensack River I am responding to is a quiet and deserted space where pools of flat still water give way to the tops of wooden tree stumps. The stump forms are inexplicable, magical, sculptural. They seem to embody fragility, perseverance and a caught moment. Conceptual ideas I had been moving around in my work for years were suddenly presented to me beside the New Jersey Turnpike.

This used to be a cedar forest – intentionally destroyed hundreds of years ago. The Meadowlands themselves have been ravaged by the development surrounding this part of New York and New Jersey. The marshes made the location resistant to actual construction and instead became a seemingly endless absorption tank for every kind of refuse. The land’s uninhabitability destroyed its natural habitat and yet in some perverse way seemed to preserve it.

I find this site of unending interest as the stumps seemingly emerging from the water – surreal, beautiful, majestic in their survival and sad. In reality the water has overtaken them but they remain, monumental and as monuments to their history.

The elements of ‘Hackensack Dreaming’ are constructed primarily of handmade paper and glass. I am choosing to work with materials that are both fragile and strong to echo the environment I am responding to. Although I have been making work in response to rivers for a number of years this is a significant project for me for a number of reasons.

First, it is my most complex installation to date – incorporating every aspect of the physical space of the room (floor, ceiling, and wall) and physically inviting the viewer to walk among them. Second, I am using handmade paper and glass in new ways in this installation and in some ways that may never have been used before (I can’t say that for sure but I think so) and in any case create a major breakthrough for my work. Finally, it is my first travelling exhibition, of personal and professional significance and I hope very much you will find it worthy of support.

This installation is in no way meant to reproduce the landscape, my inspiration and reference point. I want the viewer to move through “Hackensack Dreaming” discovering and finding connections – compelled by the beauty and the strangeness. Thinking simultaneously of the made and found worlds – of nature (whatever that might be to a contemporary artist in urban New Jersey) – a viewer might hopefully become temporarily lost in the contradictions and visual experience.

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Nancy Cohen, installation photo of “Hackensack Dreaming” in the Visual Arts Gallery of New Jersey City University *Photographer: Edward Fausty

Yasuhiro Chida

Exhibition’s Title: Viewing the Universe


Viewing the Universe” Installation View

Venue: Shiga Kogen Roman Museum, Nagano, Japan

Exhibition Date: July 18 – October 12, 2015

Curator: Yukino Suzuki

Artists: Koji Onishi, Jun Kosaka, Sumito Sakakibara, Yasuhiro Chida, Kazuaki Hayakawa, Chika Matsuda, Mitsuhiro Yamagiwa

Concept: Japanese only, English version is not available yet.

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Viewing the Universe” Installation View

Ginger Porcella

Exhibition’s Title: Women’s Work: Masculinity and Gender in Contemporary Fiber Arts


Photo: Norman Eric Wallace, Paddy Hartley, 2007

Venue: San Diego Art Institute, San Diego, CA, USA

Curator: Ginger Porcella

Artists: Blanka Amezkua, Laura Blanco, Sheena Dowling, Rose Eken, Kris Grey, Paddy Hartley, Don Porcella, Jacob Rhodes, Katia Sepulveda, Nathan Vincent

Concept: “Women’s Work: Masculinity and Gender in Contemporary Fiber Arts” is an international exhibition that calls for a reexamination of traditional gender stereotypes. “Women’s Work” will be a group exhibition of powerful images evoking and informing psychological experiences. The artists in this exhibition employ a variety of techniques regarded as traditional and domestic, such as embroidery and crochet, using traditional craft materials and techniques to address cultural and gender issues in a complex intersection of domestic practices, popular culture and aesthetic splendor. Several artists in the exhibition use unexpected materials-such as discarded clothing and pipe cleaners- to show the range of fiber art materials being incorporated in contemporary craft.

Several artists in the exhibition reside on the Tijuana/San Diego border, and use the issue of gender and identity politics to discuss other “boundaries”,,, whether physical, psychological, or technological. Both Kris Grey and Katia Sepulveda’s work examine queer identity; Grey’s ongoing investigation entitled “Gender/Power” documents his transition from male to female, while Tijuana-based Katia Spulveda’s work about the trans-feminist insurrection call for a destruction of the sex and gender binominal.

Denmark-based Rose Eken creates a series of embroidered images about Rock’n Roll culture, such as records, drum kits and set lists from bands like Metallica and Ozzy Osboun, while NYC-based Jacob Rhodes invents his own society in the series “Candy Skins”, an ongoing project about a fictional subculture of skinheads who all make their own uniform in a detailed examination of codes of masculinity and punk rock culture.

Both renowned London-based artist Paddy Hartley and San Diego-based artist Don Porcella investigate the way in which the human body is changed, modified, and reconfigured either by choice or circumstance. Addressing subjects such as biomedical research and the ethics of human cloning, their work takes the form of figurative installations and assembled objects.

Finally, Nathan Vincent’s monumental installation “Locker Room” deals with gender permissions, acceptable gender activities, and created spaces. Creating a stereotypically masculine space with a stereotypically feminine process bring to  surface questions around activities that our culture deems acceptable for men and women.

This exhibition takes complex topics regarding masculinity and gender and makes them accessible for all audiences and ages. The exhibition will be documented in a 4-color catalogue, and a full series of public programs, lectures, and performances will accompany the exhibition.

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