THIS IS NOT ABOUT MEN…
One morning I was showering after a week of unsatisfactory dates. Mind you- I pushed myself to go on them because staying home alone should not be my modus operandi. I realized my interactions were obligatory at best- solicitous. Banal. Feigned. Essentially the metaphorical mini bar was open and the most generic of snacks were served. I felt nothing. No glow. No anticipation. The kind of experience one has when they book a room at a Holiday Inn express. You know the bed will be adequate. The shower will be plastic lined- the soap small. Coffee machine dependable. Utterly forgettable- purposely so, so that the next visit will be a feet dragging collapse. As we shuffle our way through emotional obligations finding little comfort in the non-stop act of performative giving, do we take a moment for ourselves? Or is that gesture fraught with guilt? When does saying yes to everything become saying no with conviction? Are we willing to take that risk?
Loneliness makes for strange company.
So, in the spirit of ennui and an utter lack of womanly passion- I bring you “hospitality suite” an homage to the empty. In all of us.
The artists selected for this exhibition were presented with the curatorial statement before deciding to participate.
Anna Conway shares in her artist statement: “Many of my paintings depict fragments from unfolding narratives in which ordinary people are suddenly confronted by forces much greater than themselves, either due to circumstances beyond their control or because of an unexpected momentary suspension of disbelief. The paintings are windows onto brief moments of radical experience that take place wherever we least expect them. The ambiguity the viewer senses in these narratives derives from the inability to know the internal nature of the subjects’ epiphanies. We witness spontaneous disruptions in ordinary days without being privy to the exact nature of either their causes or their effects. Even when I am painting a space without people, I am describing a space that someone has arranged to be either a reflection or an enlargement of themselves. The scenes I paint are invented, and as a result the paintings have a sense of everything being equally defined and in focus. The palpable role of time and labor spent in the production of the paintings echoes the relationship of work and routine to transcendence that is presented in the narratives. The futility of the task being attempted in many of the images I paint serves, on some level, as a metaphor for the activity of using such a labor-intensive medium and technique in a culture characterized by disposability.”
Scout Zabinski presents work from a deeply personal place; she writes about her painting “Full Bloom”: “This piece and the accompanying poem were inspired by the folksong “Ring-A-Round the Rosie” and my own experiences with intimacy. The theme for the show, titled “Hospitality Suite”, made me think about my mind and body as a home and a space I let others into. It’s a haven that I will learn to love to live in, a garden I must nurture, and the only guarantee I have in this lifetime. I thought about much I give and how much I take from this world, from others, and from myself, and what we choose to give to each other in place of ourselves. Flowers die quickly once plucked from their roots but serve as surrogates for our own bodies when bestowed upon another. The nursery rhyme and child’s game “Ring-A-Round the Rosie” is at once silly, dark and joyous. It’s the epitome of a love we all seek in life, the ones with our flowers. Skipping in circles side by side with our palms kissing. An unspoken agreement that not only will we all fall down, but our ashes will rise. “
Therese Mulgrew utilizes dramatic lighting and a film noir like setting to introduce her narratives, when discussing her works for the exhibitions she writes: ““Ticking Clock” represents the literal image of a classic alarm clock. It is possibly from the 90’s or early aughts, a time before we were attached to our phones. There’s a simplicity to this object, a nothingness to it, the time doesn’t matter and yet it does. As women, whether we like it or not, we’re always glancing at the clock. How’s our timing? Are we where we should be? Are we running out of time? “
Bre” wears a white tank and looks at the viewer with vulnerability, maybe even worry. As an audience, we’re not quite sure of her story. She’s a natural beauty, dressed down, stark against the flat red background. Her expression represents so much about what it is to be human, and especially to be a woman, to carry so much on your back. She leans forward towards us, catching and comforting herself.
Hilary Doyle creates images in motion. Windblown and ethereal her narrative is grounded in history and reflection. “These paintings depict a public park and contemporary Garden of Eden. In it Eve, Pomona, Medusa, and a community of women reclaim the forbidden fruits and snakes, co-opted from ancient goddesses, by male religions. Medusa, once cursed, is liberated and celebrated in the garden. This world relies on the understanding that the study of Goddesses and matriarchies are keys to realizing a positive future, and yet remain hidden: lost in “prehistory”, in the trees and clouds, in memory and myths waiting for redemption.
I always wondered why Adam threw Eve under the bus. I grew up in a religious home and went to Catholic high school. Misogynistic and epic stories were brought to life in glowing stained glass and wildly tragic narrative paintings and sculptures. Wooden crying faces looked up to the heavens. As I paint, I am excavating the hidden and lost symbols of female power embedded in myths of the past and finding new interpretations in the process. “
Deborah Brown has embarked upon a series of “Haunted House” images. The bold colors belie the potential emptiness and inhospitality of the interiors. Long shadows cast a singular figure looming across a solitary street. Brown states: “The work depicts the subjects in their surroundings in the company of their animal companions. Drawing on the rich history of portraiture in Western Art, the artist aims to represent the consciousness of the sitter and the phenomenological act of seeing that unfolds when the viewer meets the gaze of the subject portrayed in the painting. The work questions what it means to be human in an age of digital representation.”
Patty Horing began her journey as a painter later in life. “I am interested in the narrative and psychological nature of portraiture. Contemporary paintings of specific people simultaneously raise questions and offer clues about individual identity and the larger cultural context in which the subjects exist. My goal is not simply to show what a person looks like, but to examine, through subjective interpretation, who that person is, wants to be, has been. Often the subjects’ material surroundings also reflect some aspect of personal desire or identity that is linked to the psychological underpinning of the portrait. By conveying a feeling for both the inner and outer lives of individuals through expressionistic portraiture, I hope to access a deeper underlying current of relatable human experience. “
Lanise Howard paints in technicolor. Her fluid, rich figures reach out to the viewer with a heavily stylized intensity. “My work ranges from portraiture, to large allegorical figurative paintings. The work often lies in-between differing states of being. I aim to create new spaces through paint, where the viewer can become transported. I often think about the analogous world; one which is related to our own but can be a space of new possibility. In my experience as an African American woman, I find myself thinking of an alternative to that experience, one rooted in the necessity to rewrite history. The idea of change then becomes an element of the work, enacted through the dreamed space.”
Genevieve Cohn creates figure in deeply diffused states of richly saturated color “My paintings project possible communities of women by drawing from both a historical and imaginative past, present, and future. Utilizing imagery and ideologies drawn from The Women’s Land Army from World War I and World War II, my paintings acknowledge and reflect a world where female power is derived from collaboration, self-endowed agency and connection with the natural world. I consider ideas of collection, adornment, beauty, and choice as the figures within the worlds of my work construct sacred spaces that engage ideas of ritual and practice. With these two paintings in Hospitality Suite, I engage with the vulnerability and strength of both solitude and togetherness, rest and response. Both are necessary ways of being that allow us to hold space for the weight of the world.”
Natalia Arbelaez creates figures that embrace humor and history. “In my work, I am a storyteller. I am telling narratives about my Colombian family’s immigration, the pre-Columbian South American presence, and my American latchkey, after school cartoon childhood. All of these stories work together to create a multicomponent self-portrait of what it is like to be a Mestizo Colombian-American hybrid. Mining tidbits from historical research, familial narratives, and cartoon culture, I create surreal stories in clay much in the way Gabriel García Márquez did with words, autobiographically narrating history with its ups and downs, its humor and tears. Making my work is an act of revealing undervalued histories from Latin American, Amerindian and Women of Color. These identities are lost through conquest, migration, and time, then gained through family, culture and exploration, and finally passed down through tradition, preservation, and genetic memory. I have found value in my histories and aim to help preserve my cultures by honoring them through my artwork.”
Katelyn Ledford is an artist living and working in Boston, Massachusetts, but born and bred in the American South. “Ultimately, I seek a mode of painting that can slow down the viewer and make them consider our image-saturated, emotional-whiplash, contemporary reality within the framework of portraiture. In my studio practice, I consider the role of images in shaping the curated portrait of women at large and individually while also reflecting on the complex and often painful reality of what it means to be a woman and artist. Appropriated images are sourced from historical paintings, television shows, social media, and Google fever dreams while contrasting symbols and shapes unfold improvisationally. Resolution and application of images and materials fluctuate from trompe-l’oeil and photorealism to textural impasto and squeezing paint from the tube in order to play with authenticity and truthfulness in the deconstructed portraits. The tone lies in a mix of cynicism, humor, and absurdist logic— like the feeling of sucking on a sour candy, you smile through the pain and pleasure.“
Samantha Joy Groff s a figure painter from rural Pennsylvania raised in a small Mennonite community. She writes about her work: “How does the spirit endure? My paintings capture the duality of hard living and deep yearning a rural female experience. Drawing on my upbringing in a small Mennonite community in Pennsylvania, I use figure paintings to process personal tragedies and unpack the cultural mystique of the Mennonites. I hope to evoke an emotionally fractured existence that doesn’t fit neatly into the dominant narrative of blue-collar women presented in popular media. My practice flirts with Appalachian Fatalism, the cultural mindset of hopelessness in many towns like mine. You work, You toil, You die. There are many real reasons for this attitude to persist within my community. I can’t speak for others, but I’ve endured financial precarity, and the opioid crisis. On an environmental level, I grew up drinking toxic water and smelling the constant waft of the slaughterhouse. It certainly is a bleak and isolated existence. However bleak, the question of spirit remains intact. My goal is to show an overwhelming vibrancy within that disrupts the fatalism. I use neon glowing underpainting to illustrate the pulsing of a divine spirit underneath the picture plane’s realism. Rather than abandoning this part of my identity, I found a crucial opportunity to rework an oversimplified idea of blue-collar women to bring insight and empathy.”
Elizabeth Huey Elizabeth Huey’s panoramas are portraits of the miraculous. Honoring remembrance and reconstruction, she highlights our human capacity to draw invention and intimacy from catastrophe. Born from a substratum of expressive paint, the architectural and figural elements in Huey’s paintings hail from a multiplicity of styles and eras. The spatial arrangements and scale shifts support a hypnagogic sense of seeing things from the inside out. Through historical research and channeling, she delves into energetic complexities and explores the dynamics of mystical connections.
Caroline Absher paints compelling large-scale portraits that gaze deeply into the eyes of the viewer. “These paintings of closeness may feel like a memory of love or a hazy visualization of it. Past or future, they are what we tend to think of when loneliness creeps in. I find it so sweet that the minds natural reflex is to transform hopelessness into images of beauty. Whenever I feel without something, I can’t help but to imagine it in all its glory. Fantasy has a way of keeping people going. So as Hospitality Suite is “an homage to the empty in all of us”, here are two paintings of the byproduct. I have learned they are meant to be thrown on the fire to keep it burning.”
Julie Heffernan is an American painter whose artwork has been described by the writer Rebecca Solnit as “a new kind of history painting” and by The New Yorker as “ironic rococo surrealism with a social-satirical twist.” In her artist statement she writes: “If I’m lucky I’ll unearth a deeper story in the process of painting than the one I started with, one that contains a secret within it, something that takes me to a more complex level of understanding. Secrets occur in painting when imagery gives way to feeling—a certain kind of tactility or odd detail, creating nodal points that conjure awareness of deeper levels of intention. The experience reminds me of the ancient Greek theory of vision, conceived as a kind of effluvium emanating from the pupil that reaches out and touches the object of vision with psychopodia, or mind fingers. This kind of felt touch happens with the recognition of a secret in a painting. We are, all of a sudden, touching inside ourselves, linked for an instant both to our own subconscious experience and to the mind of the artist through its painted corollary. It is not a simple idea of thick or showy paint, but a concentrated moment of visual density where the paint embodies focus and speaks to a deeper intentionality, where we enter the mind through the eyes of the artist and become her. It is an opening”
Paige Turner-Uribe creates soft nostalgic stories. Turner-Uribe writes about her work for Hospitality Suite: “This painting is of a woman I used to see almost daily wandering around town. She would often read or nap on city benches, falling asleep slumped over with her head on her chest. She usually wore a lavender skirt suit with lavender stockings, and sometimes a winter coat and beanie. Though she was always alone, she appeared self-possessed in her solitude. She was striking and beautiful with her white hair and lavender outfit, and I would always spot her in daily scenes. I never spoke with her and I don’t think she ever noticed me, though I saw her dozens of times. The painting touches on the transience of our existence, our solitude and the way we move through one another’s lives, sometimes only through observation.”
Sahana Ramakrishnan works from a Buddhist standpoint of Non-duality, which imagines there to be no true distinction between the individual and the totality of being. “My work is animated by a search for interpretations of the universe that account for its expansiveness and for its endless ability to shape shift. In this search I draw from multiple ancestral traditions, and I am moved by the desire for cultural continuation as well as for an understanding of our deteriorating relationship with the earth. Though I have been primarily educated in the western traditions of painting, my works sits firmly on the shoulders of a broad range of Indian miniature traditions, most significantly of which are tantric lineages that prioritize visualizations and mantras. To me, art is a gateway, a prayer, a site of healing and contemplation. To me, paintings are objects of magic and alchemy. An idea sits at the center of my practice – that the story of separation between “I” and “other”, “life” and “death” is an illusion. Non-duality is a concept that reminds us that perceived “otherness” is actually a form of interdependence. This idea is repeated and reiterated in many forms within my works in parallel with what I struggle with in my life. In my paintings I call upon narratives, figures and symbols that have deep rooted cultural significance and momentum to help me unfurl my contemplations.”
Melanie Daniel creates layered, psychologically and environmentally compelling works. Dreamlike and evocative Daniel’s psychedelic, unnatural palette, dense areas of vibrating pattern, and skewed perspectives underscore the uneasy relationship between the subjects and their environment. The result of nature overwhelming the human presence is reminiscent of Jules de Balincourt, Hernan Bas, or Lisa Yuskavage. Daniel’s big, brash, and strangely beautiful works are cautionary yet hopeful. They show the resilience of nature, as plants and flowers intermingle with graffitied ruins and threaten to overrun the canvas.
About the Artists
Anna Conway (b. 1973) first came to prominence in the 2005 group exhibition, Greater New York, at MoMA PS1, where her meticulously rendered paintings announced the arrival of a singular talent. Her stylistic development has emerged from spectacular and unpredicted encounters with natural forces beyond normal human experience, to a more anthropological and psychological exploration of the human condition. Conway’s paintings are a testament to the continued relevance and fascination of the centuries-old tradition of realist painting—an archaic practice, which seems to grow only stronger with every passing year. She has exhibited extensively in the United States and Europe, and is the recipient of numerous accolades, including: the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship (2014); the Pollock-Krasner Foundation (2011 and 2005); and the William Metcalf Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters (2008).
Caroline Absher (b. 1994 Greenville, South Carolina) lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. Absher holds a BFA in Painting and a BA in Art History from Pratt Institute.
The movement between figuration and abstraction is in the center of Caroline Absher’s oil paintings. Her large-scale portraits include self- images as well as paintings of groups of people close to her. The interplay between figurative and abstract moves from one end to another; depending on the work at hand, the subject matter can dissolve into abstract forms, other times the portrait is clearly visible. Visually, the palette is at times more reduced with muted colors, other times the paintings are full of dreamlike psychedelia with vibrant colors.
Deborah Brown (b. 1955, Pasadena, CA) received her BA summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University and an MFA from Indiana University. Brown has been a visiting artist and lecturer at Penn State University, Hunter College, Pace University, Columbia University, Maryland Institute College of Art, Yale University and Art Omi. Brown currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.
The artist’s work has been exhibited in the United States and Europe including Gavlak, Palm Beach, FL; Anna Zorina Gallery, New York; Burning in Water, New York; The Lodge, Los Angeles; Nancy Littlejohn Fine Art, Houston, TX; Freight + Volume, New York; Underdonk, Brooklyn; Spoonbill Studio, Brooklyn; GEARY Contemporary, New York; Lesley Heller Gallery, New York; Mike Weiss Gallery, New York; BravinLee programs, New York; Galleri Christoffer Egelund, Copenhagen, and Angell Gallery, Toronto. Brown’s work has been reviewed in The New York Times, Artforum, Art in America, Artillery Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Observer, ARTnews, Artnet, Juxtapoz Magazine, Galerie Magazine, Houston Chronicle, The Denver Post, Madame Figaro, Hyperallergic and ART-Das Kuntsmagazin.
Elizabeth Huey’s panoramas are portraits of the miraculous. Honoring remembrance and reconstruction, she highlights our human capacity to draw invention and intimacy from catastrophe. Born from a substratum of expressive paint, the architectural and figural elements in Huey’s paintings hail from a multiplicity of styles and eras. The spatial arrangements and scale shifts support a hypnagogic sense of seeing things from the inside out. Through historical research and channeling, she delves into energetic complexities and explores the dynamics of mystical connections.
Born in Virginia, Elizabeth Huey earned an MFA from Yale University and a BA in Psychology from George Washington University. She studied painting at both the Marchutz School in Aix-en-Provence, France and the New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting, and Sculpture in Manhattan. Huey has been awarded multiple grants and residencies including the Terra Foundation Residency in Giverny, France, a Johns Hopkins University Travel Fellowship, the Artist Research Fellowship from the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C., and the Alma B Shapiro Award and Artist Residency from Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY.
Genevieve Cohn grew up in rural Vermont and received her MFA in Painting from Indiana University. She has attended residencies at The Fiore Art Center, The Vermont Studio Center, The Ragdale Foundation, and AiRGentum and is the winning recipient of the Hopper Prize. Her work has been featured in New American Paintings, Create Magazine, Art Maze Magazine, and she has exhibited her work in New York, Boston, Chicago, and London, amongst others. She is currently living and working in Boston, MA where she teaches at Wellesley College.
Hilary Doyle is an artist, teacher and curator from Worcester, Massachusetts. Her work includes painting, drawing, printmaking and sculpture about women, motherhood, psychology and everyday life.
Hilary has a solo show with Taymour Grahne Projects opening in London in June of 2022. She has recently exhibited at spaces such as Hesse Flatow in NYC, Gallery Func in Shanghai, Public Swim, and Monya Rowe Gallery. She has had solo shows at One River School, The Active Space and Brown University. Hilary’s works are in the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection. Her work has received press coverage in Hyperallergic, Bushwick Daily, and New American Paintings Blog.
Doyle has taught at the college level for years at Rhode Island School of Design, Brown University and Purchase College.
Hilary co-founded and teaches currently for NYC Crit Club. She was recently gallery co-director at Transmitter Gallery and curates shows independently.
She received an MFA from Rhode Island School of Design and a BFA from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design.
Julie Heffernan is an American painter whose artwork has been described by the writer Rebecca Solnit as “a new kind of history painting” and by The New Yorker as “ironic rococo surrealism with a social-satirical twist.”
Heffernan received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Painting and Printmaking from University of California at Santa Cruz and earned a Master of Fine Arts degree at Yale School of Art and Architecture. She is a Professor of Fine Arts at Montclair State University and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
Katelyn Ledford is an artist living and working in Boston, Massachusetts, but born and bred in the American South. She received her MFA in Painting at the Rhode Island School of Design in 2019. She has been featured in exhibitions internationally with solo exhibitions at Aishonanzuka in Hong Kong and DUVE Berlin in Germany in 2021. Select group exhibitions include those at The Museum of Museums, Seattle, WA; Monya Rowe Gallery, New York, NY; Unit London, London, UK; WOAW Gallery, Wan Chai, HK; and Plan X Art Gallery, Milan, IT.
Lanise Howard is a visual artist who recently graduated from Otis College of Art and Design. She works mainly in paint and mixed media. Lanise was born in Southern California and raised partially in New York State. Her earliest years were spent from El Centro, California to Los Angeles California. The unique environments of Southern California and New York have both shaped the way she sees the world. Her work is usually figurative and often narrative. There is a surrealistic quality to her work, as well as a spiritual feeling that is often embodied. Lanise is interested in many various topics such as, the esoteric, sacred geometry, ancient belief systems, the current digital world, as well as her experience as a woman of color in today’s climate. Recently she has been moving towards a fusing of these many inspirations, and hopes to future investigate these phenomena in her works. Her recent body of work is an investigation on censorship and assimilation, lost narratives, and hidden histories. Lanise Howard has shown in multiple exhibitions within the past two years, and has won art prizes, such as the Women’s Painters West Award in 2019, and was a finalist in the 2019 AXA art prize.
After studies in Canada, Melanie Daniel completed her BFA and MFA at Bezalel Academy, Israel. Daniel has had numerous exhibitions in Israel and abroad, including solo exhibitions at the Grand Rapids Art Museum, Michigan, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Israel, Chelouche Gallery, Tel Aviv, Ashdod Museum of Art, Israel, Angelika Knapper Gallery, Stockhom, Kelowna Art Gallery, BC, and Noga Gallery of Contemporary Art, Tel Aviv, among others. Her work is included in collections such as the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, Harvard Business School, and the Brandes Family Art Collection. She has received press in publications such as Maake Magazine, Artnet, Newsweek, Frieze, Haaretz, CBC/Radio Canada, The Huffington Post, Beautiful Decay, and the Artists Magazine. Daniel is the recipient of a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant, a New York Foundation for the Arts Grant, the 2009 Rappaport Prize for a Young Israeli Painter, a Creative Capital Grant, and the NARS Foundation Residency in New York City. She is currently the Padnos Distinguished Artist-in-Residence at Grand Valley State University, MI.
Natalia Arbelaez is a Colombian American artist, born and raised in Miami, Florida to immigrant parents. She received her B.F.A. from Florida International University and her M.F.A. from The Ohio State University, with an Enrichment Fellowship. In 2016-2017 she was a Rittenberg Fellow at Clay Art Center; Port Chester, New York and was awarded the Inaugural Artaxis Fellowship that funded a residency to Watershed in Newcastle, ME. Her work has been exhibited internationally, in museums, galleries, and included in various collections, such as the Everson Museum, MAD Museum, and The ICA Miami. She has been recognized by NCECA as a 2018 Emerging Artist and was a 2018-19 resident artist at the Ceramics Program at, Harvard University where she researched pre-Columbian art and histories. Natalia was an artist in residence at the Museum of Art and Design in New York City where she researched the work of historical and influential women ceramicists of color and continued this research as a 2021 Visiting Artist at AMOCA in Pomona, CA.
Paige Turner-Uribe lives and works in Los Angeles, California. She earned an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BA in painting and printmaking from San Diego State University. Her work has been exhibited widely in the United States and internationally. She paints atmospheric scenes with open-ended narratives, which are both familiar and mysterious at the same time. Her work explores the sublime and the uncanny in ordinary life and the way light and color conveys feeling and mood. The paintings consist of layers of oil paint gradually built up and wiped away and reapplied until the image is resolved in a luminous surface. Her work exists in a kind of reverie where in-between moments reveal themselves in an iridescent haze.
Patty Horing is a New York City-based figurative painter whose work explores the narrative and psychological nature of portraiture. Subjects are primarily friends and family, often other artists.
A late-comer to art-making, Horing had a previous career in marketing and earned a Masters degree in English literature before ever picking up a paintbrush. Art history had always been an interest, but making art, once begun, quickly became a calling. She worked from a home studio for a decade, and, seeking a broader community of artists, pursued an MFA at the New York Academy of Art (2015).
She is represented by Anna Zorina Gallery in New York, where she is preparing for her third solo show, slated for January 2023. Previous solos were ‘Underdressed’, a show of (mostly) nudes in 2019, and ‘Ordinary Lives’ in 2017. In June of 2020, she and artist Deborah Brown co-curated a large group show there, titled ‘Sit Still: Self-Portraits in the Age of Distraction’. This March, Horing had a mini-retrospective of interior portraits made between 2014-2022 titled ‘Patty Horing: On the Inside’ at Black Wall Street Gallery in New York City.
Sahana Ramakrishnan was born in Mumbai, India and raised in Singapore. She travelled to the United States to complete her BFA in Painting at RISD, and has since been living and working in Brooklyn and Jersey City. Sahana’s work has been exhibited internationally and nationally in Fridman Gallery, Jeffrey Deitch Projects, Arsenal contemporary Gallery, The Rubin Museum, Wadstrom Tonnheim Gallery, the NARS Foundation, Field Projects, Gateway Project Spaces, Elizabeth Foundation of the Arts, A.I.R. Gallery, Front Art Space, and more. Sahana has been an artist in residence at Yaddo, Saratoga Springs, NY, a recipient of the SIP fellowship at the Robert Blackburn Printmaking workshop, the Feminist-in-Residence program at Gateway Project Spaces, the Yale/Norfolk Summer program, and the Florence Lief grant from RISD.
Samantha Joy Groff is a figure painter from rural Pennsylvania raised in a small Mennonite community. She received her MFA in painting from Yale School of Art this spring. She earned a BFA in integrated fashion design and BA in film from Parsons School of Design in 2017. Her painting practice pits the history and conservative values of the Pennsylvania Dutch against the contemporary ideals of wealth and sexuality through the female experience. These regionally specific figure paintings depict a space plagued with isolation and Appalachian fatalism. The female form often bends in unnatural ways to fit the container and compresses under tight compositions. Personal narrative both grounds the work and mythologizes the female figure through allegory and animal symbols. In an attempt to capture the ambiguity of hard living and the aspiration for class mobility, the work features subjects that are both human and non-human enmeshed in a knot of competing desires. She is interested in the commingling of bodies, affect, and color. Her works aim to compress the pastoral and its infinite horizon and zoom into an intimate close-up of what is hiding just past or beneath the surface. Samantha has recently exhibited at NADA New York, Dallas, and Mexico City and will be showing in New York, Los Angeles and Miami this summer.
Scout Zabinski (b. 1997, New Jersey) is a self-taught visual artist/painter who lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Zabinski’s work explores her own history with trauma through what she terms psychological self portraiture. Her paintings navigate themes of body image, the male gaze, and everyday life while alluding to weighted secrets of abuse and addiction. These nude life-scale “Scout’s” invert the gaze into a two-way parlay, a means of self-reclamation and preservation. Each painting begins as a photoshopped image made on her iPhone, based on memory and the subconscious via assemblage. The repetitive nude figures dares the viewers to engage as a voyeur and friend, mirroring life in its trauma and beauty while maintaining a sense of playfulness. Vulnerable and tender, she disrobes her mind and body as a form of therapy and meditation.
She holds a BA from the Gallatin School at NYU, where she studied psychology, postcolonial feminism, art history and literature.
Thérèse Mulgrew (b. 1991) grew up just outside of Dubuque, Iowa. Influenced by her mother’s surreal oil paintings and her grandmother’s impressionist still lifes, she began to cultivate her own style which focuses mainly on depicting large-scale portraits and nostalgic still life in oil paint.
Thérèse took a variety of studio art classes at the University of Iowa, where she graduated with an English literature major. Immediately afterwards, she moved to NYC where she studied at The Art Students League and New York Studio School of Painting, Drawing, and Sculpture. She had her first solo show at Freight + Volume Gallery in NYC in February 2020 and was nominated as one of Saatchi Art’s 35 Under 35 Rising Stars of 2020. She currently resides in Chicago, IL.