Faculty Member Cauleen Smith @ Center for Contemporary Art and Culture



NOVEMBER 03 // 2016 – JANUARY 06 // 2017

The Center for Contemporary Art & Culture commissions a new project from the multidisciplinary artist Cauleen Smith.

Sometimes it takes time to see what’s really there. Sometimes having a name for a thing helps us see it.
And sometimes the name for a thing renders it unseeable. Asterisms collects, arranges, projects, and draws connections between bodies unrelated, which together, create space and place. Objects from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Craft intermingle with objects from the artist’s own personal collection to create the mise-en-scene for cinemascapes that require an a curious and slow-looking eye.

This installation will be the first component to a three part body of work Smith is undertaking. The other two parts will unfold at UCLA’s Hammer Museum and the Chicago gallery Corbett vs. Dempsey.

Cauleen Smith is an interdisciplinary artist whose work reflects upon the everyday possibilities of the imagination. Rooted within the discourse of mid-twentieth century experimental film, Smith draws equally from the tactics of structuralism, third world cinema, and science fiction in an attempt to make things that nod to these references while offering a phenomenological experience for spectators and participants.

Smith’s films, objects, and installations have been featured in group exhibitions at the Studio Museum in Harlem, Houston Contemporary Art Museum; the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin; the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art; Yerba Buena Center for Arts; the New Museum, and Liepzig and Berlin. Smith has had solo shows at The Kitchen, the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Threewalls, Chicago, and Women & Their Work, Austin, TX.

Prior to receiving her 2014 Grants to Artists award, Smith’s film Drylongso (1998) won Best Feature Award from Urbanworld Film Festival and the Pan-African Film Festival, Los Angeles. Smith was the recipient of a Creative Audio Archive Research, Experimental Sound Studio Residency (2011), a National Alliance for Media Arts and Culture, Artist Award (2012), a Washington Park Arts Incubator, Arts and Public Life Residency (2013), and a 3Arts Award (2013).

Smith earned a B.A in Cinema from San Francisco State University in 1991 and an M.F.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1998. Smith studied with Trinh T. Minh Ha, Angela Davis, and Lynn Hershman-Gleeson at San Francisco State University. She attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture in 2007. Smith lives in Chicago while teaching at the Vermont College of Fine Art low-residency M.F.A. program.

This exhibition is supported in part by the The Regional Arts & Culture Council.

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Interview with Alumna Mallary Johnson/Nature as Time-based Process

Nature as Time-Based Process: A Conversation with InLiquid Artist Mallary Johnson

By Addison Namnoum

For thousands of years, arguably dating into prehistory, humans have tried their hand at representing nature in art, the concept of “landscape” and what makes “landscape art” an ever-evolving genre. Our attitudes never settle long.

When considering the vast shift in the past two hundred years toward a largely industrializing world, our relationship with nature and its resources has understandably become even more complex. Rural areas are left behind, wild spaces depleted or irrevocably changed, old skills of necessity which once bound us to the natural world become increasingly forgotten. In the face of these significant changes, conservationists, urban-planners, and artists alike are tasked now to conceive new, fresh ways to both illustrate and engage with the natural world: What can it mean to us? How can we treasure and protect it? Can landscapes—and the art that reflects them—be reimagined yet again?

Mallary Johnson, "Re-Collect III." Plant extracts on woven paper 34 3/4 × 27 1/2 in

Mallary Johnson, “Re-Collect III.” Plant extracts on woven paper
34 3/4 × 27 1/2 in

For InLiquid Artist member Mallary Johnson, an artistic approach that is rooted in systems thinking and ecology opens up a world of exploration. “Systems thinking makes clear the deep interconnectedness of life. Engaging with ‘nature’ is important because we are not actually separate from it, although it often seems so in industrialized cultures,” reflects Johnson.

Systems thinking and its philosophical counterparts, creative vitalism (popularized by Henri Bergson in the early 1900s) and deep ecology (coined by Arne Næss in 1973), are still relatively new concepts. As Johnson explains, however, they provide useful lenses we can look through to arrive at a more imaginative understanding of our relationship with nature—and our active role within it. When approached through this new understanding, time stretches out on a different scale. Process richens in meaning. And, in defiance of the long-held belief that humans exist separate from nature, a peopled landscape emerges.

Johnson is one of the artists in the group show Reinterpreting Landscape and Nature at Stanek Gallery, curated by art advisor Barbara Harberger. The works in the show vary in materials and method, yet all probe this idea of connectivity while demonstrating a strong love of natural forms. Several of the artists, like Johnson, investigate the point where the urban-and-human meets the rural-and-natural, and where those seeming divisions break down. Contributing writer Addison Namnoum asked Johnson a few questions about her process and the thought behind her particular approach:

Addison Namnoum: You are both an educator and artist. How does ecology and systems thinking come into your work?

Mallary Johnson: In my work, I maintain a less anthropocentric point of view and embrace creative vitalism as a mode of working. Creative vitalism, as scholar and artist Joanna Zylinska defines it, refers to the “rethinking and remaking of life and what we can do with it.” Seeing life as a constant process of fracturing and becoming, creative vitalism acknowledges interconnectedness as a starting point and recognizes that we are constantly engaged in a complex process of co-creation with the rest of the more-than-human world. This strategy is where my projects take root. Whether I am teaching, organizing, or making visual art, I look for the relational connections involved and search for ways to elucidate, interrupt, or build on them accordingly.

Mallary Johnson, "Spinning Stars (Tumeric)." Plant extracts on woven paper. 18 3/4 × 16 1/2 in

Mallary Johnson, “Spinning Stars (Tumeric).”
Plant extracts on woven paper
18 3/4 × 16 1/2 in

AN: When you’re rethinking and remaking as a part of engaging with creative vitalism, I imagine you have to reevaluate certain concepts we take as givens: landscape, for example. When you break it apart, what is landscape to you, and how does it inform your work?

MJ: Landscape, to me, is a synthesis of elements, processes, place and time. Often understood visually, landscapes can include the physical properties of a given area (including landforms, living and inorganic elements, human structures, etc.) as well as the shifting geophysical and cultural processes acting upon them that alter their makeup over time. I draw inspiration equally from both the processes and effects.

AN: You are working within some interesting patterns in these pieces. They satisfy a kind of order. In some works, however, there are occasional interruptions to a pattern, like in Re-Collect I and Re-Collect III. These two pieces, with their jaggedness and breaks in color, come across almost as layers of sedimentation in rock. Do you take inspiration from the patterns you see in nature?

MJ: All the time—natural patterns play a huge role in my artwork. I’m also very interested in patterns found in textiles and surface design. The designs for my weavings and collages mix together the rhythms of shape, color and texture found in landscape elements such as vegetation or layered striations of rock with patterns drawn from weaving, quilting, and basket-making techniques.

AN: The patterning you work in is often subtle yet complex. In several pieces you are weaving tessellating forms—the effect is beautiful. Where do you begin these patterns? How do they evolve?

MJ: My compositions evolve from a conversation between color and pattern. Once I find a plant pigment that is working for me, I dye sheets of paper in a range of tones that compliment each other. When enough sheets have been prepared, I experiment with different weaving and quilting patterns, varying the dimensions until something coalesces. Many of the tessellating forms are constructed from a triaxial weave formation, which is a basket-weaving pattern created from three axes instead of the ninety-degree warp and weft pattern associated with most loom weaving. The series of work included in the Stanek show sets out to explore the relationship between biology and geometry. Creating tessellating shapes from weave patterns enables the two subjects to coexist visually. Often, the juxtaposition of natural materials with hard-edged shapes produces interspersed moments of visual tension and synchronicity. I like to think of it as a form of organic geometry.

Mallary Johnson, "Re-Collect I." Plant extracts on woven paper 34 3/4 × 27 1/2 in

Mallary Johnson, “Re-Collect I.”
Plant extracts on woven paper
34 3/4 × 27 1/2 in

AN: I love that. Definitely brings new meaning to organic geometry. As you mentioned, you made dyes for these pieces using your own plant-based extracts. What role does pigment-making play in your process, and why take the time to do it?

MJ: There are many reasons why I choose to create pigments from plants. The project where I began to work with plant-based dyes is entitled Rituals for Remembering. At the time, I was looking for a way to create earth-friendly non-toxic pigments to use in my work. Rather than interpreting the landscape through a visual representation, I thought it would be interesting to collude with the living landscape as part of the work. After experimenting with a variety of approaches, including grinding minerals to make paints and burning wood for charcoal, I settled on making dye extracts from plants. As a gardener, this process resonated with me on multiple levels. The ritual of cooking down the extracts allowed time to reflect on the source and cultural applications of the plants and translating weaving techniques into colorful paper collages tapped into the richly layered history of textile design.

AN: How does time enter into the representation of landscapes, for you?

MJ: Issues of time are central to my interpretation of landscape. Despite the intense pace required by everyday life in contemporary Western society, there are a variety of scales of time occurring in nature. My work reflects upon that. I am constantly searching for a way to pause, to expand time. Often I achieve this through my techniques. For example, when drawing or weaving, I employ very precise, repetitive processes that require intense focus. This strategy opens up a contemplative space surrounding the subject that I hope translates to the viewer. I am also very influenced by Slow Movement philosophy, which encourages taking the necessary time to consciously think about and experience the various activities in our everyday life. By doing so, more intentional decisions can be made regarding the material, social and environmental factors involved in daily decisions. I apply this philosophy to my choice of mediums and the way I structure my creative process.

AN: Final question for you, Mallary, though I wish I could ask more. How can art play a role in giving us a sense of rootedness?

MJ: This is a great question and a difficult one to answer succinctly. Art has a vast toolkit of ways to provide a sense of rootedness in many mediums. What I find especially interesting is the ability of art to provide space for shared experience where the creation of new ideas, identities, relationships, or communities can be established.

Looking at Mallary Johnson’s works, rich and subtle earth colors will pull you in, and patterns reminiscent of the inner growth of plants, the bend of grass in woven baskets, and layers of sediment gathered at the bottom of a lake will transfix you and take you deep into other times, while the works themselves remain contemporary, novel, and bright. Certainly the works of each artist in Reinterpreting Landscape and Nature will draw you back into nature in exciting and powerful new ways. You can visit the exhibition at Stanek Gallery, September 9 – October 29, 2016. Gallery hours: Thursday – Sundaynoon – 5 p.m. Learn more at www.stanekgallery.com.

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MFA Visual Art Artist Teacher Harmony Hammond | Be With Me

Be With Me, a Small Exhibition of Large Paintings
Conversations in Painting, Early 20th Century to Post-War American Art


Thursday, October 27, 6:00 to 8 p.m.
New Mexico Museum of Art
107 West Palace Ave.

Be with Me, A Small Exhibition of Large Paintings
This group exhibition of reductive contemporary paintings by Nick Aguayo, Harmony Hammond and John Zurier places a premium on the one-on-one experience between the viewer and the artwork.  These compelling abstract paintings utilize the physical and material qualities of paint as means of subtle expression.

Conversations in Painting, Early 20th Century to Post-War American Art 
Includes recent additions to the New Mexico Museum of Art collection by artists Frederick Hammersley, Hans Hoffman, Gene Kloss and John Sloan.

R.S.V.P. here or call 505.992.2715 ext. 6

Image: Harmony Hammond, Buffer, 2011, Oil and mixed media on canvas, Collection New Mexico Museum of Art. Museum purchase, 2015 © Harmony Hammond / Licensed by VAGA, New York, NY

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MFA ’10 Alumnus Todd Baldwin | Memento Mori at Tiger Strikes Asteroid

Baldwin sees similarities between Goya’s works and contemporary graphic novels, and responds to these parallels by stripping out elements from both, collaging them together, and reinterpreting them into a three-dimensional construction. Taking a cue from the cells of the comic book page, he reconfigures the gallery space, allowing the viewer to wander through it in new ways. The exhibition also includes Baldwin’s first effort in producing a soundwork, a swerved and reconfigured version of Dmitri Shostakovich’s String Quartet No. 15—a piece in itself that penetrates an awkward hallway space, and amplifies the dark feeling found throughout the show. Opening reception to be held Friday, Nov. 46 to 10 pm.

Todd Baldwin was born in Trenton, New Jersey in 1975. He earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Rutgers University, Mason Gross School of the Arts in 1997, and a Master of Fine Arts degree from Vermont College of Fine Arts in 2010. Baldwin has exhibited sculpture and photography steadily since the early 1990′s, and joined Tiger Strikes Asteroid in 2013.

Tiger Strikes Asteroid

Tiger Strikes Asteroid is a network of artist-run spaces with locations in Philadelphia, New York, and Los Angeles. Each space is independently operated and focuses on presenting a varied program of emerging and mid-career artists. Our goal is to collectively bring people together, expand connections and build community through artist-initiated exhibitions, projects, and curatorial opportunities. We seek to further empower the artist’s role beyond that of studio practitioner to include the roles of curator, critic, and community developer; and to act as an alternate model to the conventions of the current commercial art market.

Our exhibitions and projects have been featured in numerous print and online publications including The New York Times, Art F City, Hyperallergic, The Huffington Post, L Magazine, Whitehot Magazine, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Two Coats of Paint, Artinfo, Artnet News, Beautiful Decay, and the artblog.

319 N. 11th St. Suite 2H Philadelphia, PA 19107

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VCFA Faculty Dalida María Benfield: Institute of (im)Possible Subjects: Migratory Times

Institute of (im)Possible Subjects: Migratory Times 

The Institute of (im)Possible Subjects (IiS) is a transnational feminist collective of artists, writers, and researchers.

We are pleased to announce Migratory Times, a global art, research, and education initiative that will be our focus in 2016 and 2017.

We are recipients of an inaugural Abundance Foundation Out of Eden Community Arts Fellowship in support of the project’s launch.

We are working closely with collaborators globally, with primary nodes in S. Korea, the Philippines, and Colombia, engaging in translocal conversations on questions of global migrations, gender, and the politics of movement. Each of these nodes will host, in overlapping sequence, a series of exhibitions, screenings, educational events, and art and media production workshops. The main events, held outside of metropolitan centers, will emerge from research groups and learning circles engaging the experience of migrants and refugees in the different localities; the temporalities of migration; the geo-politics of human migration; and the racialized and gendered dimensions of migration.

The coordinators are Dalida María Benfield and Annie Fukushima, and the core research team includes Damali AbramsMichelle DizonJane Jin Kaisen, and tammy ko Robinson. Additional collaborators include the following artists, researchers, collectives, and centers: at land’s edge (Los Angeles, CA, USA.), An Hye-kyoung and Artspace C (Jeju, S. Korea), Clara Balaguer and the Office of Culture and Design (Manila, Philippines), Diásporas Críticas (Barcelona, Spain and Quito, Ecuador), Dreaming Tree (Seoul, S. Korea), Emi Kane (Oakland, CA, USA), Guston Sondin-Kung(Copenhagen, Denmark), Renan Laru-an and DiscLab (Manila, Philippines), Annette Markham and futuremaking.space (Århus University, Denmark), Pedro Pablo Gomez Moreno and SALASAB (Bogotá, Colombia), Robert Ochshorn (Berlin, Germany), Omnivore (Los Angeles, CA, USA), Lene Myong (Stavanger, Norway), and others.

Migratory Times constructs a translocal architecture for overlapping learning, research, and making circles across diverse sites. Over the course of the year, learning circles will be convened in person at local sites as well as through virtual networks, using popular education, participatory art, and co-design pedagogies. Additional experimental methodologies will be co-constructed with the Out of Eden Learn community, housed at Project Zero, a research organization at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. The circles will produce conversations, workshops, open access publications, and contemporary art projects across the global nodes, each one an exhibition of a collective learning process about gender, migration, and time.

The Institute of (im)Possible Subjects collective opens multiple spaces and modalities for learning and knowing, including artists’ projects, visual and sound experiments, in-person guest lectures, public workshops, video installations and screenings, as well as online experiments in participatory knowledge sharing and annotation. IiS has been working together collaboratively since 2013 on scholarly, artistic, and educational endeavors, with an emphasis on engaging and sharing transnational feminist and im/migrant perspectives across disciplines, institutions, and global territorial boundaries.Nike air jordan Sneakers | Nike

The Art of the Animal Reviewed by Antennae, Annie Potts

The Art of the Animal: Fourteen Women Artist Explore the Sexual Politics of Meat was conceived and edited by three VCFA MFA Visual Art alumni, Kathryn Eddy, LA Watson, and Janelle O’Rourke who also contribute essays and images of their work, with artists Nava Atlas, Sunaura Taylor, Yvette Watt, Angela Singer, Hester Jones, Suzy Gonzalez, Renée Lauzon, Olaitan Calendar-Scott, Patricia Denys, Maria Lux, and Lynn Mowson. The book explores contemporary women artists’ engagement with how women and animals are depicted in contemporary culture. Inspired by Carol Adams’ seminal text, The Sexual Politics of Meat: A Feminist Vegetarian Critical Theory, fourteen women artists’ work continues the conversation Adams began in two decades ago, and the book serves as a catalog for an exhibition at the National Museum of Animals and Society, in Los Angeles which will open in February 2017.

Keri Cronin, Associate Professor of Visual Art Department at Brock University, Canada contributed the foreword; Carolyn Merino Mullen, Director of the National Museum for Animals and Society, Los Angeles contributed an essay; Carol J. Adams contributed the afterword. Published by Lantern Books, NY.

Click here to read Annie Potts’ review in Antennae.Running Sneakers | Women’s Designer Sneakers – Luxury Shopping

25th Anniversary Alumni Exhibition @ Studio Inferno Louisiana

Studio Inferno will host the Southeast Region’s 25th anniversary alumni exhibition from November 5-12, 2016. Exhibiting alumni include Karen Edmunds (regional coordinator), Karen Spears, Yvette Dede, Kristi Ryba, Lory Lockwood, Mary Perrin, and Cece Wheeler. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10a-3p at 6601 St Claude Avenue, Arabi, LA, 70032.Authentic Nike Sneakers | Archives des Sneakers

Line | Align | Realign @ GVG Contemporary

Alumna, Blair Vaughn-Gruler and co-owner of GVG Contemporary gallery in Sante Fe, New Mexico, hosts one of the trans-national VCFA Alumni Group Exhibitions happening through October and November 2016. Line | Align | Realign will include a range of media, including painting, photography, both sound and video time-based work, installation, and poetry. GVG Contemporary, 241 Delgado Street, Santa Fe, NM. The exhibition will run November 5-16, 2016 with an opening reception on Friday, November 11 from 5-7pm.


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Tania Kupczak | Hex and the Monstrous Feminine

HEX and the Monstrous Feminine

Our Daily Armor II – HEX and the Monstrous Feminine

Opening Reception – Thursday, October 13th 6 to 9pm RSVP

We react to the society that envelops us; We wage battle every day against oppression and privilege. When our world refuses to listen and won’t protect us, we ignite the power within ourselves. We summon our inner witches and scorch obstacles with our monstrous feminine fire power.

From where do we divine this power? What shields us?

HEX and The Monstrous Feminine examines the mystical and occult tools available in contemporary art and adornment.

Featuring Stasia Burrington and Winterlaced  with:

Jordan Christianson – Seattle
Melinda Lee Holm – LA
Gritty Jewelry – Seattle
Jennifer McNeely – Seattle
Kook Teflon – Seattle
Siolo Thompson (Bay & Willow) – Seattle
Julie Sarloute – France
BLKHEX – Seattle
Alisa Sikelianos-Carter – NY
Su Laing – Seattle
Penny Thing – Seattle
Allison Bartline – Portland
Stone Crow Designs – Seattle
Chris Sheridan – Seattle
Mariel Andrade – Seattle
Flavia S Zuniga-West – LA
Flannery Grace Good 
Jody Joldersma – Seattle
Spirit Speak – Seattle
Ellie Dicola – Seattle
Lisa Myers Bulmash – Seattle
Tatiana Garmendia – Seattle
Michael King – Seattle
Flora&Fauuna – Arkansas
Dionea Nadir – Seattle
Annie Nance – Seattle
Holly Bobisuthi – San Francisco
Tania Kupczak – Seattle
Misha Hunting – Seattle
Rhodora Jacobs – Seattle
Kate Petty – Seattle
Mary Enslow – Seattle 

Opening reception and Art Walk October 13th:

Artist talk with Andrea Iaroc : Lilith, Witches and Surrealist Artists in Latin AmericaIf you want to hear some interesting art historical witchy, wicked things RSVP above!

Trunk show with Bonnie d’Alene of Blue Gourami featuring ritual tea kits and body care
Hoodwitch – Everyday Magic for the modern mystic
True Form Healing will be offering Intuitive Readings
Pop-Up with The Small Beast
New music by Kelli Francis Corrado 

Card readings with Scarlett Foundry

5% of all sales through the month of October will be donated to the Lam Bow Fire Relief Fund. 

Twilight Gallery and Boutique

Hours and Location

4306 SW Alaska Street Seattle, Washington 98116 Telephone 206.933.2444

Wednesday – Saturday: 11am to 7pm
Sunday: 10am – 3pm

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Alumna Mallary Johnson @ Stanek Gallery Philadelphia

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