Christina Watka (b. 1986) is a site-specific, large-scale installation artist. Informed by large systems in nature, such as the movement of herds and flocks, Christina uses natural materials and ceramic to translate these systems into inviting and contemplative artwork. In her most recent series, 'The Lightness of Joy', Watka creates hanging brass and mica sculptures which hypnotically reflect light in a kinetic and meditative display. Christina received her BFA in Studio Art in 2008 from The New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University.
Uprise Art curates a year-long exhibition at Norwood, a private members club which draws its membership from New York's creative arts community. The exhibition features twelve artists, Abby Goodman, Anthony Cudahy, Christina Watka, Erin Lynn Welsh, Erin O'Keefe, Jen Wink Hays, Michael Gaillard, Millee Tibbs, Rachel Mica Weiss, Ryan James MacFarland, Xochi Solis, Zoë Buckman, and is hosted in Norwood's historic five-floor Chelsea townhouse.
Abby Goodman uses found objects, reconstituted components, and natural materials to create an iconographic language unique to an imaginary, autobiographical universe complete with beautiful beasts, barren landscapes, and a cavalcade of misfit champions.
Erin Lynn Welsh creates light-dappled oil paintings that capture the sublime and ethereal qualities of the American landscape. Originally a photographer, Welsh paints from her own square-format film photographs taken while traveling extensively throughout the United States.
Installation artist Rachel Mica Weiss builds environment-specific installations that draw on the intersection of utility and obsolescence. Playing with the real and implied tactile qualities of the materials she utilizes, Weiss creates sculptures and installations that are delicate in detail yet grand in scale, including Pyramidal Planes.
Millee Tibbs’ aptly titled series Air/Plains references both the content of the image, earth and sky, and the object into which the photograph has been folded - an airplane. The collapsing of the photographic space through folding creates an image where the intangible and the tactile coexist and the ephemeral is made into an object.
Brooklyn-based artist Anthony Cudahy paints from found photographs. He extends the images onto canvas, pushing and pulling the paintings until they seem like a forgotten memory, found but not recognized. Sourced from the archives of his own family and those apart from his own, the majority of the subjects Cudahy depicts are unknown. These subjects exist in a world that is arrested in time, forever in an active state of anticipation, on the verge of confronting the sublime.
Xochi Solis constructs abstract paintings from hand-dyed paper, plastic, vinyl, wax, paint, and found images from books. Solis focuses on the tactile qualities of paper and other materials, imbuing her works with a contextual layer. Aesthetically, the overlapping of these materials creates a range of depth and shadow that allows each composition to increase in complexity as the stack of visual information grows, turning the repetitive act of layering into a meditation on shape.
Photographer Michael Gaillard grew up on the island of Nantucket. Rather than functioning as windows into scenes, moments, or particular locations, Gaillard’s photographs are atmospheres, vessels of light and air that reproduce the essential feeling of being in a place. They go beyond the documentation of record and exist as conduits of sensation.
Originally from London, Zoë Buckman attended the International Center of Photography in New York before expanding her practice to include sculpture, neon, and embroidery. Buckman’s latest series, Every Curve, explores the contradictory and complementary influences of feminism and hip-hop in her upbringing. By hand-embroidering lyrics from iconic rappers Tupac and The Notorious B.I.G. onto vintage lingerie, Buckman delicately ties together two seemingly polar forces in an unlikely manner.
Erin O’Keefe investigates the nature of spatial perception and the layer of inevitable and often fruitful misalignment introduced by the camera as it translates three-dimensional forms and space into a two-dimensional image. The representation of a building and a building itself are radically different, as are a photograph and its subject.
Installation artist Christina Watka builds unique environments inspired by her captivation with impressions, connections, and human interaction. Through repeated forms and handmade modules, Watka’s work examines the dialogue between absence and presence, and the connectivity between personal and cultural histories. The artist often utilizes organic materials; however, her recent work, such as this installation at Norwood, is formed from porcelain and shaped by hand.
New York designer and painter Jen Wink Hays creates works that are often nautical, at times neon, but always optimistic. Working from a palette of vibrant, modern hues, Wink is inspired by the various geometries found in nature, forms that have been cast aside from larger ecosystem, such as objects found during a walk on the beach or along the side of the road. She clarifies these objects in her distinct visual language and gives them a new context, character, and purpose.
Ryan James MacFarland photographs exclusively in film. His series Secret Wisdom focuses on the mythology of place, vanity, and sexuality, and how that mythology can exist within a landscape, object, or space. This series marks a shift away from the abstract, nonobjective landscapes and still lifes his past series, which reflect on his lifelong investigation into the phenomenological qualities of nature.
- Christina WatkaPortland, MEArtist Page
- Erin Lynn WelshBrooklyn, NYArtist Page
Erin Lynn Welsh (b. 1984) depicts expressive impressions of the natural landscape. Comprised of broad gestural brushstrokes, Erin’s mark-making captures the unpredictability and volatility of nature while also offering a tool for abstraction, allowing her botanical forms to conjure a greater emotional resonance. Erin harnesses the historical symbology of the natural world, from the awesome power of the sublime landscape to the poignancy of a simple flower, to explore the contrast between beauty and violence.
- Millee TibbsDetroit, MIArtist Page
Millee Tibbs’ (b. 1976) work derives from her interest in photography’s ubiquity in contemporary culture and the tension between its truth-value and inherent manipulation of reality. Her photographs often address the fabrication of an ideal of the American landscape. By disrupting the photographic image through physical interventions (folding, cutting, and sewing), her work responds to the miniaturization and domestication of land through photography. Tibbs resides in Detroit, MI and holds an MFA in photography from RISD. She has exhibited throughout the U.S. and abroad, participated in a fellowship at The MacDowell Colony and has held artist residencies at the Wassaic Project and the Santa Fe Art Institute.
- Ryan James MacFarlandBrooklyn, NYArtist Page
Ryan James MacFarland (b. 1985) creates photographs that address the intangible and transitory qualities of landscape. His images are born out of an overwhelming obsession with nature and its mechanics, notably Tide Study, a series capturing the moon above bodies of water before nightfall. MacFarland’s compositions are usually devoid of of human presence and are sometimes comprised of triptychs or pairings, or reproductions of the same image arranged in quadrants, forming a central diamond shape, suggesting the symmetry and patterns that exist in nature. His photographs reveal how he sees the natural world and attempt to break down the complex systems of nature to their base elements. MacFarland received a BFA in Photography & Imaging from New York University in 2006, and his work has been exhibited internationally.
- Xochi SolisAustin, TXArtist Page
Xochi Solis (b. 1981) is an Austin, TX-based mixed media artist. Her works include multilayered, collaged paintings constructed from paint, hand-dyed paper, vinyl, plastics, and images from found books and magazines. Xochi considers the repeated act of layering a meditation on color, texture, and shape, all leading to a greater awareness of the visual intricacies found in her immediate environment, both natural and cultural. Xochi shares her studio time between Texas and Mexico.