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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