Announcing the 2017 Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program Awardees

The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2017-2018 award of a yearlong rent-free studio space in DUMBO, Brooklyn. 17 visual artists were selected from over 1,300 applicants by an initial review with four past studio artists: Valerie Hegarty (’04), Sarah Peters (’07), Debra Priestly (’13), Blane De St. Croix (’14), followed by a final selection with jury members Sanford Biggers, Matthew Deleget, Deborah Kass, Nathlie Provosty (’09), and Jean Shin.

The recipients for 2017 are Laura Bernstein, Anna Betbeze, Todd Bienvenu, Derek Fordjour, Angela Fraleigh, Hong Seon Jang, Osamu Kobayashi, Doron Langberg, Sharon Louden, Bridget Mullen, Narcissister, Jose Rodriguez, Brie Ruais, Martha Tuttle, Brandi Twilley, Penelope Umbrico, and Jaimie Warren. The residency period will last from September 2017 through August 2018, with an open studios weekend to be scheduled for spring 2018.

“For Twenty Six years the Sharpe-Walentas Space Program has provided studios to emerging and established artists. We believe workable studio space and community is fundamental to the creative process,” said Jane Walentas, Executive Director. “We are excited to welcome 17 outstanding artists this September to our beautiful DUMBO studio spaces and are looking forward to seeing how their work progresses throughout the year.”

The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program is the new face of the Marie Walsh Sharpe Art Foundation Space Program, developed for artists, by artists in 1991. In 2014, the program was renamed the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program to honor the legacy of Marie Walsh Sharpe and reflect the new sponsorship and commitment of the Walentas Family Foundation. Since its founding 26 years ago, over 400 artists have received rent-free studio space through the program.

2017 Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program Awardees:

Laura Bernstein (Brooklyn, NY) is a multidisciplinary artist who constructs absurd and unusual scenarios and vignettes through immersive installation, performance, and video in which her fictional characters and creatures engage with their environment, exploring the relationship between human and animal, exemplary and freakish, public ritual and private behavior. She received her BFA from the Rhode Island School of Design and her MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. She was awarded a Toby Devan Lewis Fellowship (2014) and was a fellow at Vermont Studio Center (2013), as well an apprentice at the Fabric Workshop and Museum in Philadelphia (2013). She has shown her work in Philadelphia, New York and Austria and is part of the permanent collection of the National Dance Institute, New York, NY.

Anna Betbeze (New York, NY combines various textiles which she cuts, dyes and distresses for her painting-like wall hangings using flokati rugs. She holds a BFA from the University of Georgia and an MFA from the Yale University School of Art. Betbeze has had solo exhibitions at Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY; MASSMoCA, North Adams, MA; Lüttenmeijer, Berlin, Germany; and François Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles, CA. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at the Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris, France; MoMA PS1; Galerie Perrotin, Paris, France; Luxembourg & Dayan, New York, NY; Mitchell-Innes & Nash, New York, NY; Tanya Bonakdar Gallery, New York, NY; and Ramiken Crucible, New York, NY. She was the recipient of a Metropolitan Museum of Art Rome Prize (2013).

Todd Bienvenu (Brooklyn, NY) is an oil painter who depicts scenes inspired from his personal life, incorporating humor, sex, and hedonism. He holds a BFA from Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, and an MFA from the New York Studio School. His recent exhibitions include Galerie Sebastien Bertrand, Geneva, Switzerland; Louis B. James, New York, NY; Cuevas Tilleard, New York, NY; Life on Mars, Brooklyn, NY; Páramo, Guadalajara, Mexico; and Steven Zevitas Gallery, Boston, MA.

Derek Fordjour (New York, NY) is a multidisciplinary artist working in painting, sculpture, and installation. He draws upon sports, games, carnivals, and circuses to explore the power structures that exist around rewards, sanctions, and team dynamics. He is a graduate of Morehouse College, Atlanta, GA and earned an MA in Art Education from Harvard University and an MFA from Hunter College. His work has appeared in exhibitions at Roberts & Tilton Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Sotheby’s S2 Gallery, New York, NY; and Luce Gallery, Turin, Italy. He is the recipient of the C12 Emerging Artist Award (2017) and was the Artist in Residence at the Sugar Hill Museum, New York (2016).His work appears in several collections throughout the US and Europe including JP Morgan Chase collection and Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX.

Angela Fraleigh (Allentown, PA) is an oil painter who uses traditional painting techniques to challenge male-dominated art historical narratives, creating new environments for female figures appropriated from old masterworks. She holds a BFA from Boston University and MFA from the Yale University School of Art. She has exhibited widely at venues including P.P.O.W Gallery, New York, NY; Massimo Audiello Gallery, New York, NY; Mark Moore Gallery, Los Angeles, CA; Rachael Cozad Fine Art, Kansas City, MO; James Harris Gallery, Seattle, Washington; Inman Gallery, Houston, TX; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO; and the Museum of Fine Arts Houston, TX. Fraleigh has been nominated for the Joan Mitchell Foundation Award (2009), the Louis Comfort Tiffany grant (2005), and was awarded the Yale University Alice Kimball English Travel Grant (2003) as well as several international artist-in-residence programs.

Hong Seon Jang (Queens, NY) creates installations from a variety of man-made materials and common objects, including tape, metal type, aluminum foil, floor tile, and furniture. He holds a BFA from Dan Kook University, South Korea and an MFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY. Jang has been widely exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, including at the Islip Art Museum, East Islip, NY; Smack Mellon, Brooklyn, NY; Dumbo Arts Center, Brooklyn, NY; Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY; PS122 Gallery, New York, NY; and Hangaram Art Museum, Seoul, Korea; and PS122 Gallery, New York. Jang was awarded the AHL Foundation Visual Art Award (2012) and the Urban Artist Initiative Grant (2010).

Osamu Kobayashi (Brooklyn, NY) is an abstract painter. He holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and studied at AICAD’s New York Studio Residency Program. He has had solo exhibitions at Underdonk Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Aplus8 Contemporary Art, Brescia, Italy; Greenwich House, New York, NY; and John David Gallery, Hudson, NY.

Doron Langberg (Queens, NY) is a painter who focuses on love, desire, sexuality, and queerness in his work. He holds a BFA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MFA from the Yale University School of Art. Langberg’s work has been exhibited at Horton Gallery, New York, NY; Anna Kustera Gallery, New York, NY; Ana Cristea Gallery, New York, NY; Driscoll Babcock Gallery, New York, NY; Jeff Bailey Gallery, Hudson, NY; the PAFA Museum, Philadelphia, PA; and the Detroit Museum of New Art; Detroit, MI. He is a recipient of the Elizabeth Greenshields Foundation Grant (2011) and the Yale Schoelkopf Travel Prize (2011).

Sharon Louden (Minneapolis, MN) works across a variety of scales, ranging from works on paper to monumental public installations. Recently her work has focused on large-scale installations using aluminum sheets. She received her BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and MFA from Yale University School of Art. Her work has been exhibited in numerous venues including the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Ridgefield, CT; Drawing Center, New York, NY, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA; Weisman Art Museum, Minneapolis, MN; National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Birmingham Museum of Art, Birmingham, Alabama; Weatherspoon Art Museum, Greensboro, NC; and the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City, MO.

Bridget Mullen (St. Cloud, MN) paints flat acrylic paintings with repeating shapes and figures. She holds a BA from Drake University and an MFA from the Massachusetts College of Art. Her work has been included in numerous solo exhibitions including Satellite Contemporary, Las Vegas, NV; Roswell Museum and Art Center, Roswell, NM; Hudson D. Walker Gallery, Provincetown, MA, and in group exhibitions at Hometown Gallery, Brooklyn, NY; Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, Roswell, NM; BRIC, Brooklyn, NY; Luhring Augustine, New York, NY; Artspace, New Haven, CT; and Bruce High Quality Foundation, New York, NY.

Narcissister (Brooklyn, NY) works at the intersection of performance, dance, art, and activism. She integrates her prior experience as a professional dancer and commercial artist with her art practice in a range of media including photography, video art, and experimental music. She has presented work in New York at the New Museum, New York, NY; MoMA PS 1, Long Island City, NY; The Kitchen, New York, NY; Abrons Art Center, New York, NY and at many nightclubs, galleries, and alternative art spaces. Narcissister has also presented her work internationally at the Music Biennale in Zagreb, Croatia; The City of Women Festival in Ljubljana, Slovenia; Warehouse 9, Copenhagen’s first live art festival; and at the Camp/Anti-Camp festival in Berlin, Germany, among many others.

Jose Rodriguez (Brooklyn, NY) draws from his own experience of his Mexican heritage. His paintings often include family photos, Catholic imagery, and Chicano iconography set into a surreal landscape.His paintings question how personal narratives are constructed and focus on identity politics, “otherness,” and constructions of racial identity that challenges oversimplified and singular terms. He received his BFA from University of California Santa Cruz.

Brie Ruais (Brooklyn, NY) makes ceramic sculpture and installations based on the weight of her body, alone or in combination with others. She received her MFA from Columbia University. Solo exhibitions of Ruais’s work have been held at Mesler/Feuer, New York, NY; Nicole Klagsbrun, New York, NY; and Lefebvre & Fils, Paris, France. Her work has been included in group exhibitions at Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY; The Horticulture Society of New York, New York, NY; The Hudson Valley Contemporary Center for Art, Peekskill, NY; and the Abrons Art Center, New York, NY.

Martha Tuttle (Brooklyn, NY) creates fabric-based wall works. She received her BA from Bard College and received her MFA from the Yale University School of Art. Her work has been included in numerous solo and group exhibitions including Tilton Gallery, New York, NY; Radical Abacus, Santa Fe, NM; and Rhona Hoffman Gallery, Chicago, IL. She has held residencies at the New Mexico School of Poetics in Ojo Caliente (2012) and Grinnell, Iowa (2011). She received a Josef Albers Foundation Travelling Fellowship (2014) as well as a Donald C. Gallup Research Fellowship from the Beinecke Rare Books and Manuscripts Library, Yale University (2014).

Brandi Twilley (Brooklyn, NY) creates paintings and drawings that are inspired by her formative experiences in her hometown of Oklahoma City. Her artworks are populated by characters from childhood sketchbooks, artifacts from nearby construction sites, and scenes from her parents home, which tragically burned down in 1999. Twilley received her BFA from The Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University and her MFA from Yale University School of Art . She has recently exhibited at Lord Ludd, Philadelphia, PA; Sargent’s Daughters, New York, NY; Hood Gallery, Brooklyn, NY and A.K.A. Gallery, Oklahoma City, OK.

Penelope Umbrico (Brooklyn, NY) is a photographer who reinterprets everyday consumer and vernacular images. She finds her subjects in the pages of consumer product mail-order catalogs, travel and leisure brochures, and websites such as Craigslist, eBay, and Flickr. She received her MFA from the School of Visual Arts, New York, and is a core faculty in their MFA Photography, Video, and Related Media Program. Selected public collections include the Guggenheim Museum, New York, NY; International Center of Photography, New York, NY; McNay Museum of Art, San Antonio, TX; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL; Museum of Contemporary Art, San Diego, CA; Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco, CA; and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA.

Jaimie Warren (Brooklyn, NY) is a photographer and performance artist creating works both independently as well as collaboratively with youth and community groups that collage characters and imagery from pop culture and art history. She is co-creator and co-director of the community-engaged and artist-led fake television show Whoop Dee Doo. Recent solo exhibitions of Warren’s work have been presented at The Hole, New York, NY; Higher Pictures, New York, NY; American Medium, Brooklyn, NY; Helmuth Projects, San Diego, CA; and San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco, CA.

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