The Studios at MASS MoCA are buzzing with spring energy and we couldn't be more excited to be welcoming our first funded artist from Puerto Rico this week!
We have raised funds to offer 6 residency slots at the Studios this spring/summer 2018 for Puerto Rican artists who were impacted by Hurricane Maria. The devastation to the island has disrupted the careers of many artists in Puerto Rico, and we created this residency opportunity to provide much needed time, space, and financial and professional support to help artists rebuild their art practices and pursue new opportunities.
Read about this exciting set of artists here and be sure to keep an eye out for future Open Studios events that these fantastic artists will be participating in so you can come say hello.
Gamaliel Rodriguez was our first artist resident to arrive this Wednesday! Using pen and ink on paper, Gamaliel has been working on a series of drawings that depict aerial and panoramic views of unreal industrial, military or civilian areas. These areas are non-traditional places because most of them are created from his own inventions, studies, investigations, and memories of abandoned industries, hotels and other built environments. These elaborate photorealistic scenes have the quality of engraving but also evoke architectural drawings and the photography of the mid-twentieth century.
While at the Studios, Gamaliel plans to use the medium of drawing to share his experience of Hurricane Maria and its aftermath. He hopes this experience will allow fellow artists in the program to talk about the topic and use the Studios as a laboratory of ideas. Gamaliel will be in residence from April 11 – May 1, and will participate in the Open Studios on April 28th.
Ada Bobonis creates installations that explore the relationship between the individual and their environment, referencing urban environments and modern architecture. She is interested in urban places that are under construction, isolated and undefined. These include sites and buildings that have changed their function, and places where the past and the present coexist. Given how the uncertainty and precariousness generated by the hurricane caused such widespread exhaustion, Ada hopes to regain energy while at the Studios. She plans to work on models and drawings in preparation for the next phase of a trilogy of exhibitions dedicated to three places in California: Sequoia, Salton Sea, and the L.A. River. Ada will be in residence from May 2 – June 12.
For the last 20 years, Ivelisse Jimenez has worked with assemblage and installation, using materials such as plastic, fabric, vinyl, plexiglass, paper, and canvas, within the language of painting and abstraction. Through the process of working abstractly, she is interested in how meaning is made and the complexity of interpretation that is present in the work. At the Studios, Ivelisse plans to use the time and studio space to stabilize her artistic practice and integrate the experience of this disaster into her work. She will be in residence from May 2 – June 12.
Lilliam Nieves is an educator, writer and artist working in a range of mediums from painting and photography to installation and video. Her courageous work reflects how female stereotypes and societal consumerism have created particular beauty rituals of an excessive and incomprehensible nature. She says in her application:
“For so many years, Puerto Rico continues to be a political dilemma for the United States and for Puerto Ricans themselves. It is my observation that those in the diaspora often make themselves felt with more fury. I want to find the homeland as a ritual, without detaching myself from being Puerto Rican, feeling like I am the diaspora, without being so -- being part of the United States without being (although on the island they believe they live in a state). I want to keep feeling the Caribbean even if it freezes my bones, always to be Puerto Rican forever.”
Lilliam will be in residence from May 2 – June 12.
Natalie Falero is an interdisciplinary artist working in the mediums of performance, video, photography, and installation. Her work deals with the body as a sensor and processor of trauma, interacting with cultural and social-political constructs, and exploring social injustices related to discrimination of race and gender, sexual violence, and colonialism. While at the Studios, Natalie plans to continue a body of work in which she examines the experience of being in constant movement, exploring what becomes of the search for basic resources; how does it feel to not belong, trying to find a place to call home, and how does this impact the psyche and the physical body? She also asks, how do we share the experience of being displaced? And what are the aesthetics of displacement and resilience? Natalie will be in residence from June 27 - July 17.
During Hurricane Maria, Rogelio Baez-Vega lost the two story building that housed his workspace and home. Nevertheless, he was able to turn his apartment's dining room into a makeshift artist studio and has been painting a series titled "Colonial Suites." These are large format oil and gold powder pigment paintings where he explores Puerto Rico's colonial status through its constructed landscape, focusing on the governor's mansion, La Fortaleza. At the Studios, he hopes to build back a base from which to obtain economic sustainability, expand his technical skills, and explore a variety of graphic media. Rogelio will be in residence from August 1 – September 11.
The emergency residency opportunity for artists in Puerto Rico has been generously supported by the Dorothea L. Leonhardt Foundation, the Rudin Foundation, Richard & Leslie Morgenthal, and several anonymous donors. We are deeply grateful for their support.