• As Culturehall celebrates five years this month, our quarterly call for submissions continues to draw a growing number of applicants from different countries. We jury a wide range of work in traditional and new media by artists at various stages of their careers.

    Congratulations to the four artists selected for our eleventh New Artists Feature: Eric Graham, Joshua Zucker-Pluda, Patricia Domínguez, and Hannah Levy.

    Eric Graham's minimalist paintings and prints reveal traces of the American vernacular landscape drawn from postcards, found photos, and roadside ephemera. The iconic subjects of road trip photography appear as fragments of muted flat surfaces on linen, canvas, or gessoed boards. Using negative space to isolate or suspend objects and architecture, Graham, a native of Texas currently based in Brooklyn, creates intimate reflections on history and memory. His various series collectively evoke nostalgia and suggest a longing for empty spaces. A recent untitled print juxtaposes the fronts of two discolored scenic snapshots with the back of another and presents them as a quiet and poetic meditation on time, decay, and representation of landscape. The fading imagery of a majestic waterfall and a steep bluff speak of Graham's fascination with relics of what is changing and disappearing across America.

    Joshua Zucker-Pluda's series of seductive color photographs are part of an evolving transmedia project, The Sea of Trees, that will also comprise a feature length documentary film, a video installation, and an interactive iPad App examining Aokigahara Jukai, a forest in Japan where an average of seventy suicides occur each year. The first documented suicide took place in 1340 as a result of a Buddhists monk's purifying and fasting ritual that led to his intentional death and influenced other monks to follow his example. This dark, dense, and mysterious forest lined with moss and volcanic rock has since lured many seeking to disappear into its enveloping beauty and silence. Annual patrols of the forest discover bodies both dead and alive. The Sea of Trees explores this legendary and tragic site as a reflection of the human psyche — a profoundly eerie and surreal landscape bearing the spirits of lost souls who have surrendered to hopelessness. Each of these photographs elegantly expresses a haunting sense of absence.

    Exploring the relationship of contemporary cultures to nature is a central focus of the New York-based Chilean artist Patricia Domínguez. Made in collaboration with Anne Montt, her recent work 8th Island / Aathava Dweep took Patricia to Partapur, an oasis in the Indian desert of Rajasthan. Part sculpture, part societal conversation piece, the physical structure of this work serves as a grow house of sorts that travels to various central points of the city. While the artists began the work by adding local plants to the piece, the public is invited to contribute to the display. Intentionally unscientific and uninformed in approach, a few of the initially included plants were of spiritual significance. The inclusion of these religiously related plants led to intense public conversations about the work, and eventually the uninvited removal of these plants by an unknown party. After almost a year, the 8th Island continues to exist and grow in Partapur.

    Hannah Levy references common elements from our manufactured surrounding to create sculptures that not only exist in a minimal context, but suggest the body through their origins. While involved in the process of creating a work, she often thinks about sensations like bare legs against a hot vinyl car seat in the summer or the pressure felt by a tongue squeezing through a plastic hole. Beyond these physical expressions, Hannah's work toys with duality — often becoming a nexus of seemingly disparate traits. Some combine design with conflicting matter, employing reduced, almost Juddianized forms emerging from Home Depot materials. Others, like her untitled work from 2013, kinkily bring together elegantly crafted metalwork with flesh-toned additions. All share in a sensuousness that can be found in physical matter and a dry, almost awkward humor.

    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, the Big Screen Plaza, and Cindy Rucker Gallery.

    Tema Stauffer is a photographer, writer, and curator. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1995 and received an M.F.A. in photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998. Her work is represented by Sasha Wolf Gallery in New York and has been exhibited at galleries and institutions nationally and internationally. She teaches at Ramapo College and the College of Staten Island, and taught a photography workshop at Toxico Cultura in Mexico City. In 2010, she was awarded an AOL 25 for 25 Grant for innovation in the arts. She is the recipient of the 2012 WIP—LTI/Lightside Individual Project Grant and a finalist for the Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition 2013.

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