Since the fall of 2010, Culturehall has published seasonal Feature Issues highlighting artists from around the world. Our most recent open call for applications brought submissions from artists working in a wide range of media and disciplines. From a large pool of talented applicants, we selected four new members to feature in our current issue.
Operating between visual art and music, the Swedish artist Jesper Norda imbues a strong sense of performance to the installations, videos, and two-dimensional pieces, which compose his practice. While conceptual in nature, his work employs the syntax of minimalism to create a space between presence and absence. Norda's recent sound installation, The Centre of Silence, unfolded in a large, empty space at the Kalmar Konstmuseum in Sweden. What appeared to be a void was breached intermittently by spoken words and sounds. The narrator dutifully provided descriptive commentary on the qualities of the room and passed along information regarding events that would happen shortly. The gesture of this guidance is deceptively straightforward — at first only causing sensitivity to the physical surroundings. Ultimately, this newly acquired knowledge negotiates expectations from what was once vacuous into a venue.
Florine Demosthene is a Haitian-born artist currently based in New York City whose work explores stereotypes and representation of the black female body. Her provocative series of mixed media drawings, The Capture, portrays a voluptuous black heroine in surreal vignettes that appear like sexually charged dreams. This mythic figure is mostly naked in each scene with powerful thighs, sagging breasts, and protruding stomach — the very antithesis of the ideal female form in Western culture. Demosthene boldly reveals her subject's inner world and erotic experiences amidst a landscape of decay and destruction. In interviews with the artist, she discusses how observing women on a trip to Africa, as well as reading Gulliver's Travels, inspired the creation of more than forty-five of these pieces. Through vibrant washes, emotive streaks of charcoal, and nuanced narratives, The Capture weaves its own epic tale of degradation, empowerment, and self-discovery.
In his recent body of work, the New York-based artist Joshua Citarella explores representation through a focus on digital image creation. Cycling through a variety of media, these compositions frequently employ the language of rudimentary still lifes and nudes used in the demonstration of photographic techniques. The final form for these works moves between prints, sculpture, and pure digital information. Each is gathered from a common cast of interchangeable generic objects, anonymous figures, and tools used in the production of images. Citarella's questions regarding representation deeply resonate in his photographic works. Curves, Merge, Skew, Clone, a predominantly monochromatic image, disengages common forms from their functional obligations, allowing these subjects to become pure markers of manipulation. Printed to display each subject at life-size, this work desires not to be viewed as a document but to be respected as a physical peer.
The influence for Yoshi Kametani's Plastic Soon series came from reading Irvine Welsh's first novel, Trainspotting, which vividly portrays working-class heroin culture in the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland, where the author experienced his own formative years. Kametani left his native city, New York, to study at a university in Edinburgh and spent four years building relationships with the inhabitants of the Muirhouse estate, the setting of some of Welsh's stories. The council housing community, like so many public housing developments in American cities, faces high unemployment, drug use, crime, and violence. Kametani focuses on boys and young men whose futures appear nearly predetermined by their surroundings. With youthful faces marked by cuts, bruises, and scars, they are tough and prematurely world-weary. The Plastic Spoon combines these haunting portraits with bleak landscapes and evocative details of the criminal underworld, such as charred tin foil, left by drug addicts, and menacing household tools.
David Andrew Frey is a New York-based artist, curator, and technologist. He founded Culturehall in 2008 as a new way for artists to connect with curators, gallerists, collectors, and other artists. David received an MFA in Studio Art from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 2000. He has also studied at the Camberwell College of Art in London, the Hochschule der Künste in Berlin, The University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, and the Savannah College of Art and Design. He recently curated exhibitions in New York of work by Culturehall artists for Ligne Roset and the Big Screen Plaza.
Tema Stauffer is a photographer, writer, and curator. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1995 and received an MFA in photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998. Her work has been exhibited at Jen Bekman Gallery and Daniel Cooney Gallery in New York, as well as galleries and institutions nationally and internationally. She teaches at the ICP and the College of Staten Island, and taught a photography workshop at Toxico Cultura in Mexico City. She also writes a blog about photography, PalmAire, and contributes to Mana Contemporary's Log. In 2010, she was awarded an AOL 25 for 25 Grant for innovation in the arts.