“It was a total experiment,” said Marcos Chin of his sculpture. “I used chicken wire for the base/skeletal structure, then built on top of it using “Amaco” papier- mâché, plaster, clay, and liquid glass… I really didn’t know what I was doing. The puffy pieces were drawings that I silkscreened onto cotton jersey fabric that I cut and sewed and filled with batting/stuffing that I bought at Mood Fabrics in midtown west.”
“I tried doing a color litho version with six different hues,” George Towne told me, “but it came out muddy. Still, seeing the color version in person helped me appreciate what was right about the original.” -George then shared his experience of watching Marcos Chin in the printmaking studio, where Marcos was “prolific” and present every day.
These testimonial statements popped up at the opening of Condition X, a group exhibition featuring past participants in SVA’s Summer Residency Program, curated by Keren Moscovitch, the program coordinator, with help from curator and Summer Residency faculty member David Gibson.
What these artists said reflects the hands-on rigor of SVA’s summer residency programs. Depending on the program they choose, artists get exclusive, private studio space in Chelsea, fully equipped traditional workshops and digital labs, and all of the great humming, buzzing, and blinking machines to complete our bionic, android, art generating potential. They also get the great humming, buzzing, and blinking people that convert artists into ARTISTS: critics, teachers, curators, gallerists, and full-time artists visit the residency studios.
Thus, happily sharing the gallery are well-versed works derived from many generations of making art. From the software era, we see splendid archival pigment prints, such as Tomer Exterman’s unfliching geri-glam Bathers photos (“bold and endearing representation of the convergence of culture and individualism,” sayeth press release) and Annette Isham’s video of a reflexive reconciliation, Friends First, 2011. Reviving 19th century handcraft are Iviva Olenick’s wistful embroidered fabrics (like “an old-world ‘blog'”). And optimistically arranging a marriage between the dexterously drawn and digitally augmented, are Jonathan Reid Sevigny’s pencil fantasias with RGB/CMYK treatment – in hand painted frames (“rife with historical and artistic allusion”).
While the residency programs are sufficiently endowed for artists to consider them “destinations,” a little research shows that they are momentous launch pads, too. As a 2005 resident, Grayson Cox gained a following and a focus, and soon scored admission to Columbia’s prestigious MFA program, a solo show at Gasser & Grunert Gallery’s new space in Chelsea, and a review in Art in America. Jonathan Reid Sevigny had a solo show last December at Envoy Gallery in the LES. For other artists, the residency offers the means to refuel their careers. Before doing the residency, SVA alum George Towne had already finished his MFA, acquired teaching experience, and garnered press for his wrenching portraiture. Following the residency, he had a solo show at Michael Mut Gallery, his first solo show in NYC since 2002. Marcos Chin, Iviva Olenick, and Jeremy Olson (I’m listing from the top of my head) are among the other artists whose residency experiences were part of larger, expansive professional growth. So you don’t have to become a performance artist just because studios are too expensive. 🙂
Condition X is at SVA’s Westside Gallery, 133-141 West 21st Street, until August 20.