Thursday, July 23, 2020

It started with a found photograph, then another, and another. This discovery would  later give way to a would-be thesis paper. But the confines of a single essay just didn't do it. Instead, curiosity and ambition grew to allow the initial inquiry to spider out, creating  this new labyrinthine collection of writing. It precedes a work of visual art, and although this  textual work does not  necessarily speak for the artwork in any direct way, it enriches it.  Together the written and visual works  culminate in  the still-evolving project titled  Yours to Discover

The title of this project, which centers around the province of Ontario, aptly takes its name from  the former Ontario license plate slogan. The found photographs in question are from the author and artist Zinnia Naqvi's family album.  They depict the touristic moments from the late 80s when Naqvi's family first visited Canada from Pakistan with the possibility of migrating permanently from...

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

At least for now, the Jersey City artist Brandon Ndife seems to suggest that we take a few steps forward with him towards the future. Or maybe more likely, shuffle across an alternate space/time that mirrors the one we currently occupy.  Keeping in touch with history, this hypothetical in-between terrain is murkier, more eerie. It is dystopian like the one we know, and perhaps it is nearing a threshold of something hopeful; but I won’t say it is optimistic. This is where his budding practice in sculpture thrives. It is a place to imagine, think, and speculate alongside felt realities. Even though what we encounter in Ndife’s work is grounded in sculptural thought, it is just as wrapped up in painting, makeup effects, and meticulous preparatory drawing. 

Over the last six years or so, Ndife has been burrowing progressively through object-making: wandering, feeling out, and retooling. In the show Just Passin’ Thru held at Interstate Projects the bricolage in his work looked...

Saturday, February 22, 2020

With beginnings dating back to 2014 , Kamias Triennial (Quezon City, Philippines) has steadily created a formidable alternative to the flashy blockbuster art exhibition event. Though grown out of an independent mentality, it continues to thrive with the retained relations the organizers have fostered over the years with local artists and organizations in the host city. In its third iteration, the Triennial is a picture of what arises out of sustained collaboration and community interdependence within the limits of available resources. Hosted across several venues, this year's offering gathers over twenty different artists and collectives with connections to over ten countries many of which will be in attendance for the Triennial. And in lieu of the added costs of shipping finished works, the participating artists' presence there will be used as studio time to either create or complete their projects; allowing for experimentation and open possibilities. Titled under 'Sawsawan: Conversat...

Monday, August 12, 2019

Look up any image of Radwan Ghazi Moumneh and you’d likely see him donning some form of shades. I ready my phone call with Moumneh, I’m curious what he looks like so I search up for his photo online. As the phone rings and he eventually picks up, I thought about sharing my observation with him. I wondered if he had shades on as we spoke. I couldn’t picture him without it. I don’t ask, instead, I’m caught in his voice and in our conversation.  Something he said later in our chat about cracking open a proverbial door for his audiences during performances and allowing them to make up their own experience resonates with the shades’ visual obstruction. With his now ten-plus years project Jerusalem In My Heart (JIMH), what Moumneh offers to audiences eludes all prescription. You come at it from where you are at and meet it how you see fit. Even as personal and political as what he results with may be, Moumneh is merely a messenger.  

At the time of our conversation, it was in b...

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Its weeks before the opening of his one-person exhibition at the Frankfurt am Main upstart gallery HUSSLEHOF and I’m in correspondence with Cudelice Brazelton over email. He tells me things are coming together, it’s been a bit confusing but productive nevertheless. This sounds familiar. Brazelton has told me this before. The part about things being confusing. Reading his email, I try picturing him in this setting of confusion. As if I could somehow redirect this momentary fog toward some reassuring clarity. Months prior, in another conversation, Brazelton earnestly reflected on the tonal shifts in his material selection. Where he once seemed fervent to let the viewer into some part of his world, to render bare his vulnerabilities and worries without hesitation or varnish, he describes his current outlook on his work as ‘solemn’ and maybe even ‘confused’. ‘But it’s not a bad thing’, he adds with a knowing sureness. The feeling of confusion can no doubt be an aversion but for Brazelton,...

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

Listen to any of Sheffield’s Ashley Holmes’ mixes on NTS Radio and it can feel like getting a warm welcome into the mind of a mixer who is every bit as delicate about his choices as he is with their successive arrangements. You can picture Holmes spending hours sifting through record after record, lining them up, seamlessly placing disparate textures together before broadcasting it for us to hear. But he also manages to make the results flow intuitively and casual.  Each time, he takes us on a meandering journey into the decades and then brings us forward and then back again. This back and forth maneuvering is done to a point where you start to lose any geographic or historic orientation you may align the tracks towards. Instead, we are left with a stacked-up sonic displacement and hybridity that is not entirely here nor there.  It teases out the multiple contexts from which these sounds come to be and how they continue to be morphed into new shades that may have only been hinted at in...

Friday, January 4, 2019

An unassuming lone sheep attempts to comfort and empathize with an actress directed to sob. A choir ensemble sings in unison but they make no sound, only mouth movements suggesting a performance of sorts. Assembled trays of grass and seedlings sit and lounge on gallery floors. They are mingled and illuminated by Flavin-esque florescent tubes playfully hung yet serving as a source of photosynthesis for the green living organisms below them. A herd of goats peruse a blindingly illuminated white-walled gallery. There’s a trapezoid plinth in the middle of the gallery, a member of the herd hops on the plinth as if to proclaim and display its presence for an audience. All of the above are Linda Tegg’s inquisitive inquiries into the natural world around us or nonhuman kinds as she’s previously described. The results are just as poetic as they are absurdly humorous. At the crux of Tegg’s practice is an appeal to know and to learn. She stumbles upon curiosities that lead to her free-form scenar...

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Tosha Stimage is driven to stop language in its tracks at all turns. To wring it out, distress it, place it where it has no guarantee, and disclaim until it just feels strange. Speaking with the artist, educator, organizer, and attentive thinker, Stimage, you get her necessity to make language an elusive entity. “There’s a kind of freedom in not having to be a definition, to allow oneself to be connected to other things, other ideas in a very infinite way”, Stimage illuminates in thinking about the black body in relation to the authority of language and willfully turning towards obscurantism. Stimage is never immune to the gravity of history; how it governs the way we see, whether we choose to remain impaired by it or rather empathize with others in real time. The ways in which individual subjectivity rub up against the workings of mass media is also crucial to the artist’s dispersal-oriented attitude towards linguistic meaning. Aside from her interspersed colour installations and imag...

Thursday, October 25, 2018


Hailing from Burgaw, North Carolina to Mexican parents, the once aspiring international diplomat, teen court defense attorney, and all-around high achieving Diego Camposeco turned down his undergrad acceptance letter to Harvard and instead opt to stay close to home where he would later attune his pull towards photography in relation to his community of Latin Americans who continue to shape the social, economic and cultural landscape in the south.

Photography work that set out to account the places and experiences of demographics in a truthful and objective manner often overlooked the impossibility of this task and the sure fact of the image maker’s subjectivity. Camposeco’s take on documentary photography gazes more inward than most but it is very much rooted in his connections with others. Particularly the Latin community not just in his home state but those adjacent in the American south. His photographs are not hurried, he is not interested in reporting for onlookers...

Thursday, August 9, 2018

From seemingly nonsensical dadaist objects, frenetic performances, lyrically debaucherous monologues, Molly Colleen O’Connell’s oeuvre is a wonky jungle chock full of unpredictable detours. As far as interdisciplinary artists go, O’Connell is a chameleon if there ever was one. She meanders her way through comics, installations, ceramics, paintings, video performance, stand-up poetry/comedy, clowning; the list keeps going. This is all achieved in a sensibility akin to that of an inquisitive active child with a measured logic. An undergirding strength to anything she outputs is comedy, but it will be beside the point to limit her as a comedic act. Through idiosyncratic humor and cartoonish affect lies her own vulnerability and self-analysis. Her clown characters like Dr. Cherish Love are garments for mutating through identities as much as they are sites that surface the artist’s emotional potency. In her latest theme park of roller coaster transitions, O'Connell turns to good ol’ trollin...

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

As with most cultural corners, politics has found its way into night life. In a world that presses its dominance upon those who’s self-hood runs contrary to the norm, a life of compromise and constriction becomes the known reality. Since the onset of the AIDS pandemic in the 1980s, the night time became a release, shield, and celebration of self without bounds. As much as night life culture in the eighties provided an escape, it also became a forum for education on safer sex practices and forming a community. This was especially true for marginalized queer and identity-agnostic individuals. Dances parties and off-grid gathering centers became spaces for advocacy and combatting stigma around HIV/AIDS. These spaces continue to have an intergenerational significance and influence as sites for fostering one’s subjectivity and freedom. Despite horrifying events like the mass shooting at Orlando’s Pulse Nightclub, only two years ago, the pain did not defeat but only galvanized and band toget...

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Traversing a dynamic poly-directional practice ranging from films, photos, and installations; Columbus, Ohio’s Cameron Granger is steadily amplifying his voice as an emerging artist. He discloses his own vulnerability, agency as an artist, and knack for close observation in his varying works. And speaking with him it’s easy to see why. Granger fluently blends the social-political with personal knowledge and fictional with lived experiences to create a generative space for his stories and images. In our candid conversation with Granger, he shares with us his relationship with homogenous spaces like the white cube, how his personal creative pursuits are linked to his community, and how he continues to discover moving images as a means of asserting his authority as a creator. Granger recently completed ACRE residency and the celebrated Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture. Read our chat below.

"by being the artist in the room you can really influence the conditions that the artw...

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

A photograph will always be a point of view of the photographer hence making it subjective and not objective. American-Jordanian artist Dalia Amara is well-attuned to this logic and it serves as a guide for which she directs the on looking viewer's attention. As subjective as photographic images inherently are, they deceptively present undeniable parallels to reality often convincing us of its objectivity. Amara recognizes this divide between her own impulses for crafting an image and how the camera and audiences receive them. “I’m invested in our attempts to represent so-called truth in photographs when the medium is subjective”, she states in our conversation. Her work accentuates the illusory and manipulative role of the camera in mediating our views of self as it relates to the dominant commercial environs. Looking back as someone raised in a multi-ethnic household, Amara often found her notions of self being gradually washed out by Western influence. In her current work, she emplo...

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

We engaged in a conversation with New York-born Haitian American artist Jelsen Lee Innocent. Coming from a background in the communication arts—advertising and graphic design—Innocent has been hesitant to call himself an artist. He has always been communicating creatively and learning how to use objects to speak for different purposes outside of his own interests or curiosity. Now, he’s been steadily redirecting some of what he knows about object making into a more nuanced personal and intimate conversation that isn’t necessarily pointed towards a consumer but an audience.  

All through our exchange with Innocent, he is every much earnest and fluid with what he shares and how he shares it. When it comes to making artwork, he is very much the same way. Innocent is very much trafficked by, and hypersensitive to what seems like the never-ending, generational racial injustices that continue to plague the United States. He thinks and considers closely his own internal processing of the polit...

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Our conversation with Ryan Scails traveled in multiple directions steering us beyond his mere creative output. In the end, we get somewhat of a sustained portrait. So much so we are splitting our conversation with Scails into a two-part post.

Above all, we learn how most of  Scails' experiences outside of his creative work implicitly weaves itself into his object making. Throughout our exchange, Scails remains casual and candid as he shares bits of his upbringing in Bethel, Connecticut with a social justice activist mother, a father brought up during Jim Crow and how their individual influences continue to be windows through which he interacts with his surroundings.

As you read through our chat Scails is cunningly self-aware as he highlights his views on the inescapable race relations he finds himself situated in, guilt on fulfilling stereotypes, and his newfound social justice perspective especially after being the subject of a police brutality case (which we discuss in a...

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