The FOLDED RESIDENCY AT M. DAVID & CO., Bushwick, NY. December 10th through the 17th, 2018
The theme for this residency was “Folded” - based on the concept of folding into oneself, folding into another and how we hide and reveal within our art. I worked with Michael David via Facetime for a month prior to the residency, discussing the concept for the work in order to prepare for my time in Bushwick. The goal was to create specific work for the gallery, and then through interaction with the other artist participants, along with guest crits from Paul D’Agostino and teacher Farrell Brickhouse, and the many conversations with Michael, to evolve the concepts into a unified exhibit.
Having the feedback from Michael and input from participating studio artists was an experience which has expanded my vocabulary and scale of working. With a combination of worn, new, and painted fabric, I made wall-mounted structures that suggest the push/pull I feel between being a parent and being a daughter.
In December 2018 I participated in the M. David & Co. artist residency in the Bushwick area of Brooklyn, NY for one week. Working with Michael David (artist, curator and gallerist, visionary and general bad ass) and through the assistance of Program Director Bonny Leibowitz, I embarked on what would be a career changing experience.
Through critical dialogue with Michael David and Professor Emeritus and Chairman of the Dry Erase Board Paul D'Agostino as well as the artist camaraderie, I witnessed an amazing amount of growth in a very short time (5 days) influencing me to take many risks and to jump further than ever before. It was a leap of faith. The residency (think Black Mountain meets Project Runway) is modelled after a school and Atelier program Michael built in Atlanta FAWS - The Fine Art Workshop.
The theme for this residency was Folded based on the concept of folding into oneself, folding into another and how we hide and reveal within our art. I worked with Michael David via FaceTime for a month prior to the residency discussing the concept for my project in order to prepare for my time in Bushwick. These discussions were invaluable, enlightening and a safe space to share. The goal was to create specific work for the gallery and then through interaction with each other, guest crits from Paul D'Agostino and artist/teacher Farrell Brickhouse and numerous conversations with Michael David evolve the work into a fluid, unified exhibit.
My installation titled 'Hide and Seek' addressed the questions of self-identity and acceptance. Using myself as model - blatant and hidden in different components at the different stages of revealing oneself became a self-portrait. This mixed media project enlisted the components of styrofoam, mylar, photography, polaroids and light to present a front facing image of my exterior shell that I present to the world. Symbolic, confronting, strong and mutating the image is powerful. The viewer is enticed to explore the installation unknowingly becoming voyeuristic. The installation invites the viewer to intimately engage with the Polaroids revealing vulnerability and exposing a glimpse of my private world. The timing for this concept is serendipitous, for the last two years I've been navigating the release of a life long program of addiction, hurt, anger and shame for being a gay man. It's been a discovery of self-acceptance and authenticity stripping away to it's most basic and fundamental form, self-love. Encompassing the themes of self-expression, body image, finding voice, reinvention and self-acceptance. This residency helped me find freedom, both personally and professionally in my art career.
Not This, Not That
Here, in "Not This, Not That", I am drawing from Goya's powerful and disturbing painting; Witches Flight, three female witches flying in the air, a Male figure, cloaked in black, completely covering his head and face. The picture has space without environment. No register of air: no atmospheric movement.
Like Goya's Witches Flight; "Not This, Not That" is a synthesis and manifestation of inner truths. The floating bodies, condemned souls, represents for me, elements of the self, seeking understanding and acceptance, most importantly for the self. The Male figure; that part of us hiding from our truths.
The works in this series are as much about their own presence and “object-ness” as their underlying narratives related to the bodily self and consciousness.
Layers of acrylic, powdered pigments and ink on Tyvek, which I’ve manipulated with heat as a substrate, result in a history of pieces; shreds, which are then assembled as larger structures or exist alone as evidence in the broader sense. In the making of these works, I conceive of them as both physical parts and embodied thought, pieces of history falling away and the engagement of new experiences.
This and That
You are hidden, you are manifest both
not this, not that, yet this and that
how can you be hidden when you're eternally plain to see
_ Fakhr al-Din ‘Iraqi, Mystic Poet 1213-1289
For me the act of painting is spiritual, shamanistic, and transformative. Truth is found through process, the accidental, and the materiality of the paint. It is and always has been my way of making sense of my life, who I am, what I love, and what I believe in.
When I first started working with Michael David, there was the sense of time and my work both rushing and slowing. It is as if he is able to see the future. Time and again he has been a few beats ahead of my work. His saying, “The greater the risk, the greater the work,” and “why are you struggling, it’s a blessing to be in the studio,” has helped shift my practice from one of struggle to one of curiosity and even joy. The work is reflecting the openness and willingness.
Another profound experience was the crit with Paul D’Agostino during the Folded residency. I brought work in to see if it would hold the wall for my show at M.David &Co., I know! Paul had the idea to hang my diptych high, causing us to look up at the first half of the diptych- the heavens, and therefore to be at eye level with the very severe bottom half, thus reinforcing and maximizing the effect. It was another instance of the energy and transformation that happens amongst kindred spirits.
Barbara Laube: site