Ryan Lewis is an artist, animator, graphic designer, and educator based in Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA. His work has been shown nationally and internationally at venues such as Target Gallery (Alexandria, Virginia) Manifest Gallery (Cincinnati, Ohio), the South Bend Museum of Art (South Bend, Indiana), CICA Museum (South Korea), and Videomedeja (Novi Sad, Serbia). Ryan is an assistant professor of Graphic Design at Western Michigan University’s Gwen Frostic School of Art. Ryan has designed professionally for the Voinovich School of Leadership and Public Affairs and Henry Schein, Inc. Ryan earned an MFA at Ohio University School of Art + Design and BFA at Utah State University.
Eversion refers to an organism’s ability to turn itself inside out. For example, a sea cucumber can eject its internal organs to distract predators, sacrificing vital functions for survival. Similarly, introverts temporarily evert their personalities to function in extroverted contexts. This performance is simultaneously action and reaction, assertion and retreat. This transformation can be physically, emotionally, and mentally taxing. Cultural, educational, and professional environments do not often provide introverts the sanctuary necessary to revitalize themselves.
Everted Sanctuaries VI communicates about the complex needs of introverts. A transformed book functions as a metaphor for the often uncomfortable process of becoming temporarily extroverted. Ubiquitous exteriors part to reveal internal intricacies—beautiful, but unintended consequences of the contortions necessary to fit in. Everted Sanctuaries VI explores the boundaries between speaking out and blending in. For introverts, speaking out is both necessity and liability. Introverts are required to transcend their own self-silencing in cultures preoccupied with speaking. Words may be methodically processed, slowly contemplated, carefully considered, or explosively released. The act of expressing oneself can be exhilarating, empowering and freeing but also isolating, frightening, exhausting, and damaging. Whether cloistered in the distance of writing or birthed through the raw immediacy of speaking, the velocity, volume, and frequency of words shape our individual and collective identities.
Irmari Nacht's art is in several corporate and public collections: AT&T, PSE&G, ADP, Newark Museum, International Museum of Collage, Bowdoin College, Jimmy Carter Museum, Cleveland Institute of Art, Rutgers University, Yuko Nii Foundation, Lafayette College, and Yale Art Museum. She exhibits internationally, as well as nationally, and received two NJ State Council on the Arts Fellowships in Sculpture. She received a second Puffin Foundation Grant for Who Am I? an interactive project where the viewer becomes part of the artwork. She recently received an award as a Visual Arts Winner of the 2018 World Citizen Artists Compete for Peace - Not War Competition.
Her work has been exhibited in every major museum in New Jersey, including the Newark Museum, NJ State Museum, Morris Museum, Montclair Art Museum, Noyes Museum and has been featured in solo shows at the AtriumGallery, Bard College at Simon's Rock, MA; Intermezzo Gallery, BergenPAC, NJ; Brooklyn Library, NY; Fifth Floor Gallery, Bergen County Building, NJ; and Carter Burden Gallery, NYC.
Irmari Nacht’s artwork, using the book as a metaphor, addresses environmental and social concerns, change and transformation, information received and denied, altered reality, as well as the concept of multiple imagery, which highlights the strength and energy of repeated elements.
Her recycled books, a series entitled “SAVED”, uses books that otherwise might be discarded and transforms them into artworks. The books are cut, sometimes into slivers which curl and undulate, and return to the tree-like shape from which the paper was made. Sometimes painted, wetted, and re-formed, the books have changed from utilitarian objects to sculptural objects capable of many interpretations.
Some of the books have exploded from their spines: a 4” book has grown to 24” through a series of cuts and spirals reaching out to the viewer with subliminal messages. Others have been exposed to the elements for more than a year; as they dried the pages were manipulated to form a more pleasing configuration
...then the sun took over and dried them into their present shape.
“I have always been interested in recycling; taking something that retains its past, but lives again in a totally new form. We are all affected by changes in the environment and are beginning to realize the need to recycle to protect our future. I hope my work will increase awareness of these changes and will get people thinking about recycling, reusing, and repurposing.”
Website: irmari.com (books, collages and who am i?)
irmarinacht.shutterfly.com (books 2007 to 2014)
https://youtu.be/KKPraaeZWXU (World Citizen Artists Compete for Peace)
http://youtu.be/o4ZxqWulJMM (NBCnews4NY Brooklyn Library exhibition)
Chris Revelle is an interdisciplinary artist with a socially-engaged and researchbased studio practice. Through the examination of history, language, and visual culture, Revelle’s work confronts the failures and abuses of social, political, and economic systems. The goal of his practice is to challenge public memory and inspire discourse and empathy. Revelle has exhibited in the United States, Hong Kong, London, South Korea, and India. He was the recipient of the 2018 Idea Capital Grant and a finalist for the 2017 Hong Kong Human Rights Art Prize. Revelle has created work for United Nations organizations, and was formerly the Chair of Fine Arts at Savannah College of Art and Design, Hong Kong. He earned his Master of Fine Arts from the School of Art at CalArts (California Institute of the Arts) in Valencia, CA.
On a hot New York Monday in 1955, Wilsonia Driver had missed her train stop. She was a recent alumna from Hunter College and had woken up that morning with excitement and pride. Ms. Driver had been offered a writing position at the New York Times, but when she arrived at the office on West 43rd St. the Times staff were not expecting a young black women. Despite her protests, Ms. Driver was quickly told that the position had been taken.
She left in a daze of anger, making her way to the train station. When Ms. Driver realized she had missed the 96th St. stop, she was already at 135th St. As she made her way across the street to catch the train back downtown, she saw a sign that read, Schomburg, as she recounts, “I was hot. I was mad, and I was everything. And I said to the guy who was standing outside, ‘What kind of library is this? I just got out of Hunter. I never saw this library.’”
When she learned that the Schomburg library’s collection was dedicated to books by and about black people, Ms. Driver responded with, “There must not be a lot of books in here.” The librarian sat her down at a long table with three books from the collection, Up from Slavery by Booker T. Washington, The Souls of Black Folk by W. E. B. Du Bois, and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. After reading a third of Their Eyes Were Watching God, Ms. Driver asked the librarian, “How could I have been an educated woman and not have read this?” and then began to cry. That young alumna would become the poet, playwright, activist and educator, Sonia Sanchez, who is best known as one of the architects of the Black Arts Movement.
A Letter for Sonia Sanchez is a collection of books built from a list of 50 literary works from black Americans, dating from 1773 to 1965. The works builds from Sanchez’s emotional story of frustration and discovery, while examining the access to these authors and books, then and now. The books in A Letter for Sonia Sanchez must be checked out from the local libraries while still providing the original list to the audience. The work uses the available library books and ratchet ties to create a monument of literature that is bound by the yellow industrial straps. The use of the ratchet ties as a book strap or belt, references the other work in the Look Away series, as part of the removal of monuments and the yellow as a cautious warning.
For much of the country’s life, it has taught a version of history that excluded black Americans. In the mid-1960s, the most popular textbook for eighth-grade U.S. history classes only mentioned two black Americans in the century since the Civil War. The suppression of black history and art is intertwined with the repression of black rights and equality. A Letter for Sonia Sanchez is an examination of the suppression and distortion of black history, culture, and education, while providing light to the depth and diversity of American literature.
Having grown up as a closeted gay man, Aaron Wilder was raised in a very conservative evangelical Christian environment surrounded by misguided family members trying to educate him on how to avoid those who are marginalized in society. This experience has made him familiar with overcoming not only homophobia but also racism, sexism, and prejudice against other religions. This perspective has enabled Wilder with a great capacity for empathy and deep respect for working with others from backgrounds different than his own.
Originally from Arizona, Aaron Wilder has also lived in Los Angeles, Washington, DC, and France and currently resides in San Francisco. He has been creating art since 2002, exhibiting art since 2005, and curating the work of other artists since 2009. With the foundational experience of being a self-taught artist, Wilder received his MFA in Studio Art from the San Francisco Art Institute in 2017. His work has been featured in 24 solo exhibitions and 77 group exhibitions in Arizona, California, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and Washington, DC as well as Italy.
Aaron Wilder is a curator and interdisciplinary artist who blurs boundaries between the analog and the digital, the public and the private, and the unassuming and the instigative. He uses his own experiences and sense of identity as a lens through which he explores the introspective and social processes of contemporary culture. Through an analytical deconstruction of these processes, his artistic approach is akin to that of an anthropologist, sociologist, and psychologist combined. Wilder’s concept-driven projects all incorporate his core belief that art can and should be used as a tool for generating critical thinking, dialogue, knowledge sharing, and understanding between individuals with divergent world perspectives.
Wilder defines his beliefs about the meaning of art through the term Conditionalism. The conditional tense (or mood) in languages is used to refer to a hypothetical state of affairs or to discuss what would happen under certain circumstances. Thus, a Conditionalist is one who is concerned with understanding a range of perspectives through dialogue with others who may perceive events and the world around them in different ways. Before it was appreciated for its aesthetic qualities, art (in its diverse array of expressions) was used as a way to facilitate the communication of ideas. Therefore, as a Conditionalist, Wilder seeks to employ his work in creating a forum to celebrate art as dialogue where individuals can share their perspectives on issues in the community and across the world.