Participating artists: Amalia Galdona Broche, Anikó Sáfrán , Maryam Khaleghiyazd, Chelsea Stewart, Lizzie Essi , Margaret R. Thompson and Siddharth Pathak
In Decmber 2020, we launched our fourth edition of the World of Co@Home Online Artist Residency. During the month, Online Artist Residency was hosting seven international artists – Amalia Galdona Broche, Anikó Sáfrán , Maryam Khaleghiyazd, Chelsea Stewart, Lizzie Essi , Margaret R. Thompson and Siddharth Pathak.
Below you can see their latest works created during the month in the virtual art program.
Margaret R. Thompson
Margaret R. Thompson is a multimedia creator ritualizing the human condition—both conscious and unconscious—in her work. She calls this Life Force. Her art is her worldview, her constant project. It strengthens her connection with the world. In recent work, Margaret invents archetypes to form a universal visual language that she rearranges into metaphysical storylines. There is always an element of chance and mystery. The New Mexico based artist explores concepts of ancestral memory, objects of immortality, and metamorphosis, weaving them into contemporary lore. She explores many mediums: painting, animation, digital photographic collage, virtual and tactile sculpting, and site specific installation.
This is a performance piece documenting a ceremony made to rid oneself of heartache. It is a ritual to shake off pain and loss, judgment and misunderstanding. It is a healing modality made for the artist and anyone grappling with biological or experiential ache. (Full description on margaret-thompson.com)
The performance is split into three parts. The first part is suspension. It explores going inward and living with aloneness, suspended with oneself, processing emotion, listening to one’s own rhythm, heart beat, desires, needs.
The second part introduces an embodied art piece—a phoenix mask cast from my face then sculpted with clay and adorned with saved and found objects. I created this mask as an exploration into sculptural and transformative wearable art. I have chosen the phoenix, a mythological creature from ancient Greek and Heliopolis (ancient Egypt) folklore, to represent the cyclical regeneration of the spirit as we let go of what no longer serves us and embrace empowered renewal. The mask activates the performance ritual, becoming a medium that allows for dialogue between the viewer and their own potential for rebirth.
Before putting on the mask, I prepare a fire for personal relics like my sister’s hair, recalling the moment I cut too much off, and my sister’s tears came down hard, like my own tears in moments of society-spun self loathing. An old souvenir from a heartbreaking relationship. An embroidery reading It’s A Process from a friendship now folded. A page ripped from my calendar—a constant pressure learned over time—pressing me towards the future rather than just being here now. Copper leaf swiped from the office of a boss who once called me thin skinned. I then make fire, light and leave the memory-charged items to burn, and put on the mask. I begin to spin. This is the third part of the ritual: metamorphosis. As I turn and turn, my colors change as the phoenix burns. Black to red to white. Here in the ritual I am shaking off the past to live again. I believe this is an inherent, constant process in our human condition—the natural metamorphosis of the soul.
This performance piece was made on Jicarilla Apache, Utes, Taos Pueblo and Picuris Pueblo peoples’ land. Settlement of the Rio Grande del Norte region was not successful, leaving the abandoned remains of early 20th century homesteads. Today the area is vastly empty.
Amalia Galdona Broche
“I am a fiber artist working with textiles and mixed media to materialize a psychological landscape of nostalgia and remembrance in order to weave alternative histories and mythologies.
Originally from Santa Clara, Cuba, my family moved to the US in my adolescence. I earned a BFA and a BA in Sculpture and Art History from Jacksonville University, and have participated in residencies at the New York Academy of Fine Arts and the Studios at MASS MoCA. My work has been exhibited at The Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens, the Parachute Factory, and most recently at Patricia Sweetow Gallery, amongst others.
I currently live in Lexington, Kentucky, where I am pursuing an MFA in Visual Studies at the University of Kentucky.”
Flowers for the Saints
Growing up in the Special Period – a time of extreme economic adversity in the Cuban archipelago – and living in the United States since my adolescence, has created a cultural rift between a world of scarcity, a militant education, leftist values and a world of excess, expansive opportunities, and a consumer-driven lifestyle. This duality of lived experiences exists in tension and opposition, both in perpetual conflict and simultaneously omnipresent. My sculptural practice materializes a psychological landscape of nostalgia, accumulation, and memories that fester. The complexities of identity-building as a person touched by displacement, migration, and transculturation are present through my manipulation of textiles. Layers obscure the individual histories of objects and textiles, complicating their stories through the entanglement of previously autonomous items. Raw materials, such as discarded and found objects, create a seemingly random assortment that is connected by the single trajectory of my diasporic movement as a Cuban-born immigrant living in the United States.
The reconfiguration of material is manifested in the accumulative process of knotting, weaving, ropemaking, and wrapping. The discomfort present in my sculptural forms references the violence of silence and suppressed histories. This simultaneous relationship and disconnection between the individual and the collective acts as a pervasive undercurrent in my work. Manifested through references to European and West African belief systems, rituals, and imagery, these undercurrents are further complicated by the violent manner in which the resulting culture interacted, endorsed or endured the process of colonization. Overall, my sculptural and installation work serves as a non-verbal language to communicate the multiplicity of identities within a single entity. It seeks a connection where verbal communication has been rendered ineffective to express a totality that is multilingual, abstract, obscured, and universal but at the same time nuanced and specific to our lived experience.
Chelsea Stewart explores themes of mass and scale, geological subjects, and mental health. Through the relation of grounding, heaviness and weight and how they affect the human form and mind, bringing oneself back to reality. The catalyst of erosion in rocks, caves, craters and other natural formations, the texture and the scale of all of these are focal points of my research. Connecting shapes, fusing them together to create abstracted forms, highlighting small moments within large bodies of rock. Stewart delves into the boundaries of geological heaviness combined with themes of anxiety and mental wellbeing, using unconventional everyday materials to represent the themes of feeling grounded to one’s body. The mix of intentional decisions and accidental moments- the charcoal drowning in the canvas, the pencil marks being suffocated by the layers of paint- all build to eventually become a cohesive whole.Stewart currently resides and works in her home studio near San Francisco, California. She received her BFA in Art and Design from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a concentration in Studio Art. Stewart was recently featured in Content Magazine of San Jose, California
I`m Tired of It
“I examine themes of anxiety and dementia within this body of work. My grandma passed away recently prior to the residency and she had a long experience with dementia. This 13 piece body is a culmination of my experience and thoughts relating to this, as well as homemade paper collages that represent my symptoms with anxiety while using everyday materials.
The series of homemade paper pieces combines materials from weighted blankets, and shredded pieces of books related to “mindfulness” and “self help” books that I got at the start of my undergraduate experience, which I never used, Therefore, I shredded them up into an art piece. In my pieces in the past, the use of juxtapositions is fascinating to me. For these pieces, while weighted blankets have been beneficial to my personal experience, these books have not.
Each homemade paper piece represents a symptom I have experienced with anxiety. The process of papermaking is a meditative process. I wanted to examine this in a variety of scales. I chose papermaking due to this extensive process allowing myself to fully take part in each step of the making. I wanted to push myself into this medium and to delve into the use of collage and the textures that the paper creates.
The I’m Tired of It series is a grouping of 20 separate pieces, all individually their own but together represent a multitude of different thoughts around anxiety with their own personal messages of textures, compositions and materials.
Sewn Together represents the act of sewing, something that I did with my grandmother at any early age.
Altogether, these pieces represent my own personal views of my experience of watching my grandmother’s bout of dementia, as well as themes of anxiety using everyday materials of weighted blankets and anti-anxiety coffee table books.”
Lizzie Essi is a multidisciplinary artist based in Cleveland (OH). In 2020, she graduated with a BFA from the Cleveland Institute of Art with a dual-degree in Painting and Sculpture + Expanded Media. Working primarily within the mediums of painting and weaving, she brings together items from a myriad of sources to create unified structures of recontextualized material. Through the process of revaluation and reuse, Essi aims to seize potentials of materials with little conventional use and little value as commodities. These are objects found and cast off in the everyday. In 2018 Essi received the Creativity Works Grant of the Fenn Education Fund of the Cleveland Foundation, leading a two-artist exhibition at The Good Goat Gallery, Lakewood, (OH) in 2019. Essi received the Sara Mattsson Anliot Award for Excellence in Weaving in 2019 and four times received the CIA Gund Family Scholarship, Cleveland Institute of Art, Cleveland, (OH).
New Forms: Scrolls & Storiest
I believe in the interdependence of all things and that art has the potent and peaceful power of speaking directly to one’s spirit. I am constantly inspired by and learning from the infinite potentials yielded from working with found fibres and the myriad of responses textiles can elicit – both familiar and foreign.
Through many small accumulated actions of pulling both soft and hard materials through lush colorful threads, I create woven structures. Scraps of natural and synthetic materials coalesce within them– virgin wool, mercerized cotton, animal fibres of unknown origin meet with plastic garlands, beads and straws to become a fabric, a body, a matrix. The densely colored and richly textured fields of material offer an alternative experience of things that are often overlooked or cast off in the everyday: the true trappings of our collective time and culture, i.e. disposable items.
These works explore the emotive qualities of materials and become playfully abstracted within the boundaries of large-scale forms. The combinations of materials take on their own life, maintain their own authority, command attention and offer a space for contemplation. My process allows me to embrace idiosyncrasy, imperfection, the true nature of us as I analyze my own relationship to the world around me.
The practice of weaving is as old as human time, I use the age- old technologies of on-loom weaving in order to tell new stories, set new intentions and elicit new responses. Although materials are solidly secured and tamed within the structures, the gesture of the human hand is always emphasized. The materials come together to create a cacophonous symphony, a road map, a sacred scroll, manifesting alternative values of care, curiosity, trust, tolerance and transformation.
Maryam is an Iranian multimedia artist and teacher based in Minnesota. Her work and teaching area cover different realms like digital art, illustration, augmented reality, animation, and graphic design.
Currently, Maryam is exploring her identity as a person who has migrated from Iran to the United States. Indeed, she is applying illustration as a vehicle to expose her state as a person who lives between two different cultures.
Maryam has exposed her art and design work to different national and international exhibitions in various countries like Iran, U.S.A., Germany, South Korea, Japan, Italy, U.K., Switzerland, Mexico, etc. She has won several prizes like the Silver prize of A’Design Award in Italy, the merit award of HOW International Design Awards in the U.S.A., the first prize of International Triennial of Ecological Posters in Ukraine, and the second award of International Poster Design Competition Post-it Awards in Russia.
Maryam received her B.A. and M.F.A. in Visual Communication from the University of Tehran, Iran, and her second M.F.A. in Graphic Design from Ohio University, U.S.A. She is currently the assistant professor of Graphic design in the Art and Design department at the University of Minnesota.
Currently exploring ambient & atmospheric music creation, Siddharth Pathak, a multi-disciplinary artist from India has expanded his practice from painting to adaptable and transformative installations, experimental audio, film & video, as well as performance art and writing over the last 8 years. With his work he explores themes of Recovery from Trauma in an attempt to document Unconscious Conflict. Through exercises in learning the ways of the human mind and heart, he attempts to capture the passage of time taken for inner change and transformation; his raw material constituting the moments between cycles of being and otherness.
“Morphing Shadow” is an animation about a girl who has moved away from her home country. Whenever she gets bored and/or lonely and needs her family, she morphs her shadow into a box that contains the memories of her family members. She takes her family members out of the box, communicates with them and returns them back to the box, finally morphing it back into her shadow. The presence of a snake symbolizes dual feelings, happiness, depression, and other intrusive thoughts that plague the minds and lives of immigrants across the world. The music does justice to the feelings of hope, and a resurgence of everyday courage and the strength to retain individuality in the face of isolation and loneliness.
The unifying theme of Anikó Sáfrán’s work is an exploration of the space between perception and reality, especially in terms of the active engagement with social, political, and natural worlds. She often uses distortion to explore these relationships. Her most recent work focuses on the perceptions and realities of motherhood. Her practice includes photography, video, sound, installation, performance, painting, and writing. Her work has won multiple awards and has been exhibited in museums and galleries across the United States, including The Contemporary Museum of Honolulu and the Utah Museum of Contemporary Art. Anikó holds a BFA in Studio Art and a BA in Film and New Media Arts from the University of Utah. She is currently an MFA candidate in the Interdisciplinary Studio Arts program at James Madison University. She is a recipient of a 2020-21 VMFA Visual Arts Fellowship. Born in New Jersey, USA to Hungarian immigrants, Anikó’s work is influenced by her bi-cultural identity.
Artifacts, Relics, and Remnants
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an artefact can refer to:
1. Anything (hu)man-made.
2. Not naturally occurring but rather, an aberration caused by an external influence or manipulation.
3. rare: A work of art.
We can also refer specifically to cultural artefacts that tell us something about the people who made or used them; visual artefacts that occur when creating digital images; and virtual artefacts that don’t have a physical form but exist only in the conceptual or digital realms.
A relic can be defined as:
1. A memento, reminding one of a person or place.
2. The remains of a deceased person.
3. What is left behind after the wasting away of a person or destruction of a place.
4. Remains of a meal, food scraps.
A remnant (among other things) is:
1. A surviving trace, what remains.
2. A fragment of what was once whole.
“My mother had a massive stroke over a year ago which left her in a state that I can best describe as a remnant of her former self. Four months later, she gradually passed away with my sister and I holding her hands. Later we sorted through my mum’s personal effects, and we each carried home boxes of artefacts and relics that we think of as defining of her. Items such as her jewellery, which she wore every day; the curlers she wrapped her hair around every week; the manicure set she kept within arm’s reach of her seat at the kitchen table; the pinecones she collected from around the world; the now vintage hangers she kept as mementoes – many from hotels; a replica of her teeth.
I created these images by first making a photogram through a cameraless process called lumen printing. Lumens are made by placing objects on outdated photographic paper or film and exposing them to light for extended durations of time. I fix (stabilise) the image with darkroom chemicals or with salt and then scan it because even a fixed lumen print is fugitive: with time, it will fade. The digitised photogram has permanence. It becomes a memento. Once scanned, I can also manipulate it, increasing the contrast to make the image more salient, adjusting the colour to change its tone. This exercise of massaging the image’s appearance to adapt it to my liking is not dissimilar to how we encode and recall memories through personal biases, colouring them with our own desires. When making lumen prints with organic materials, a chemical reaction occurs that can leave colourful images on the paper. The images in which I have used food and food scraps, I have only minimally manipulated. The colours are a result of the natural chemical process. There is always an element of surprise when creating these. I have started making lumen prints using our household compost. I am documenting the remnants, the relics, of our food consumption – and our waste, in a state of decomposition. In March it will have been a year since my mum’s death. When someone dear to us dies, the relationship with that person does not suddenly end. I still miss her and often wish I could call or text her, but the active grieving process is coming to a close. Now it is time for my feelings and thoughts about her life and our relationship to sit with me and go through the lengthier process of composting.”