Announcing the 2016 Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program Awardees

The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program is pleased to announce the awardees of the 2016-2017 cycle of studio space grants. 17 visual artists were selected from over 1,200 applicants by an initial review panel with five past Studio Program artists: Diana Cooper, David Opdyke, Erika Ranee, Daniel Rich, and Randy Wray; and a final panel of jurors including: Tara Donovan, Keltie Ferris, Dread Scott, Joel Shapiro, and Alexi Worth. The residency period will last from September 2016 to August 2017, with an open studios weekend, to be scheduled for spring 2017.


2016 Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program Awardees

Olive Ayhens is a painter whose highly detailed oil, watercolor, and ink paintings depict urban and rural landscapes. Her paintings depict overlapping perspectives of her surroundings, creating fantastical environments that combine elements and symbols of industrial architecture, commercial design, and natural flora. Ayhens received her MFA and BFA from San Francisco Art Institute and is the recipient of many residencies and fellowships, including the Guggenheim Fellowship, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Award, Joan Mitchell Foundation Grant, Yaddo Artist Residency, and the MacDowell Colony.

Samantha Bittman creates intricate paintings by applying acrylic paint on handwoven textiles that alternately exaggerate and negate the precise grids and geometries she creates at her loom. She received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has participated in residency programs at Ox-Bow and the Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and was a recipient of the Chicago Artadia Award.

Matt Bollinger makes paintings, drawings, animations, and mixed-media works based on narratives derived from personal experiences, first- and second-hand research, and fictional situations. Drawing forms the core of his studio practice, whether as a means to depict imaginary scenarios or as a tool to deconstruct and rebuild memories. Bollinger received his MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design, his BFA from Kansas City Art Institute, and attended the Yale University School of Art Norfolk Summer Session.

Sascha Braunig’s paintings and drawings combine vibrant color and a hypnotic style to create compositions that reflect upon illusion and the surface of the represented subject. Through a controlled painting process, she turns portraits or still lifes into graphic schemes, applying a “skin” of irregular pattern—herringbone, fluid grids, or polka dots—in contrasting or complementary colors. Braunig received her MFA from Yale School of Art and her BFA from The Cooper Union.

Jordan Casteel’s work addresses the varied representations of the humanity of black men and their portrayals in the public sphere. She uses her paintings as a vehicle to address the wider question of what it means to be black in America today. Casteel received her MFA from Yale School of Art and a BA from Agnes Scott. She has participated in residencies at Yaddo, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Process Space, and The Studio Museum in Harlem.

Caroline Wells Chandler’s brightly colored hand-crocheted works explore notions of queerness and sexuality as well as the art historical canon. His characters are radically queer, and his representations of gender declare queerness as the normative state. Chandler received an MFA from the Yale School of Art and his BFA from Southern Methodist University.

Duron Jackson is a multi-disciplinary artist who explores the social inter-relationships of “Blackness” within the broader context of contemporary culture. His works focus on social and political histories in relation to mass incarceration, constructions of criminality, and state surveillance in the United States. Jackson received his MFA from Bard College and BA from SUNY Empire State College Studio Art Program. He is the recipient of numerous residencies and fellowships, including the BRIC Media Arts Fellowship, the Queens Space Residency, and a Fulbright Research Fellowship to study African roots in contemporary art practices in the diaspora in Brazil.

Meredith James works in video, sculpture, and theater to explore mechanisms of perception and the fallibility of observation. Seeking to reveal the surprising and disorienting potential of the world around us and explore a new means of storytelling, she makes use of optical phenomena like reflection and perspectival shifts. Her work incorporates familiar domestic objects and environments, often as the contained setting for very small-scale interiors in which her narratives unfold. James received her MFA from the Yale School of Art and BA from Harvard University and attended Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She has received fellowships from The Queens Museum, Socrates Sculpture Park, Vermont Studio Center, Lighthouse Works, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and Sculpture Space and was an artist in residence at Abrons Art Center.

Fabienne Lasserre creates deliberately uncategorizable artworks that are both painting and sculpture (or perhaps neither) by breaking down boundaries—between masculine and feminine; reality and fantasy; and different artistic disciplines. The truth-bending genres of science fiction and mythology underpin Lasserre’s practice, and the amorphous forms of Eva Hesse, Lynda Benglis, and Franz West inspire her freestanding and wall-mounted biomorphic shapes made out of brightly colored fabrics, clay, paint, and metal armatures. Lasserre received an MFA from Columbia University and BFA from Concordia University, Montreal, and studied at 2000 Institut de Création Artistique et de Recherche en Infographie, Montreal, Akademie Vytvarnych Umeni v Praze, Prague, and Escuela Nacional de Artes Plasticas, Mexico City.

Karen Lederer creates prints and paintings that portray attempts at intimacy such as feet immersed in a pond or a plant reaching towards a window in a poster. Educated with a printmaking background, she brings a graphic sensibility to the work by combining the subtle gradients of monoprinting with the gestural touch of painting. Lederer received her MFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and her BFA from Washington University, St. Louis.

Dana Lok’s paintings and drawings play with time, perspective, language, illusion, and flatness to investigate the threshold between pictures, words, and the things they represent. Her work draws source material from the history of painting and cartoons to create uncanny pictures that present perception as a mysterious and magical process. Lok received her MFA from Columbia University, her BFA from Carnegie Mellon University, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Nat Meade’s paintings depict subject matter that varies from the elevated or beatific, to the buffoonish or absurd and often explores male archetypes. Meade received his MFA from Pratt Institute, his BFA from University of Oregon, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture.

Clifford Owens’s object- and image-based works are produced most often in the studio-space of performances and in collaboration with audiences or other artists. Owens uses photography, text, video, and audience engagement to explore race, class, gender, sexuality, and art history and is recognized for several ongoing, serial performance pieces that investigate race and identity. Owens received his MFA from Rutgers University, his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and Whitney Independent Study Program. Clifford has received numerous grants and fellowships including the William H. Johnson Prize, Art Matters Grant, Louis Tiffany Comfort Award, New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowship, the New York Community Trust, the Lambent Foundation, and the Rutgers University Ralph Bunche Distinguished Graduate Fellowship.

Sheila Pepe is best known for her large-scale, ephemeral installations and sculpture made from domestic and industrial materials. Since the mid-1990s Pepe has used feminist and craft traditions to investigate received notions concerning the production of canonical artwork as well as the artist’s relationship to museum display and the art institution itself. Pepe received her MFA from School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and her BFA from Massachusetts College of Art, and attended Haystack School; Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, and Radcliffe Institute, 1998–99.

Ruth Root’s large-scale geometric panels draw from the lineage of non-objective painting, using bold industrial colors and aesthetically ordered geometries that invoke cityscapes, product design, and 1960s technographics. Root’s playfully orchestrated compositions engage with the fundamental principles of formalism while simultaneously interacting with contemporary modes of interpretation. Root received her MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and attended Brown University and Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. She also participated in the Yaddo Residency program.

Alan Wiener creates abstract sculptures that appear to be both architectural and organic. His poured resin sculptures evoke associations with both ancient dwellings and models of future utopian high-rises. Wiener received his MFA from Tyler School of Art, Temple University and his BFA from Washington University, St. Louis.

Tuguldur Yondonjamts is a multi-disciplinary artist whose projects are focused in visual research of a space between tamed and untamed worlds. His practice is based equally on drawing, printmaking, sculpture, video, and sound. Yondonjamts received his MFA from Columbia University, his BFA from the Mongolian University of Arts and Culture in Ulaanbaatar, and attended University of the Arts Berlin (UdK), Germany.

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