Donnabelle Casis - 2002 Fellowship Recipient
"I am fascinated by the act of seeing, looking, and the cognitive process through which visual information is understood. In my paintings, I juxtapose contradictory elements to create a whole—the more awkward, implausible and humorous, the better. For me, these images convulse and converge on the canvas. When the final forms appear, they are raw and naked. They take me by surprise." In the words of one critic, "these paintings have tremendous visual energy. The works explode in places and implode in others. Casis creates surfaces that are as alive as her subject, and backgrounds that refuse to sit still and be backgrounds."
"In our time, it is no longer possible to experience landscape without a sense of loss and uncertainty. Nature is imperiled, precarious and finite. No aspect of our natural environment is unaffected by development, technology and modern industry… Any reading of contemporary landscape painting must carry an implicit awareness of this predicament. Otherwise, we risk nostalgia, believing in a past that lives only in the romantic imagination."
"For the past ten years, my artwork has addressed the spiritual alienation that exists within our consumer culture. This alienation is often unrecognized, since consumerism distracts us from questioning our place in the universe and in our communities. In my work, I attempt to combine the two seemingly antagonistic concepts of the Sacred and the Profane into new manifestations of American spirituality."
Julia Ricketts creates evocative paintings that contain visual representations of aerial maps, construction sites and the complex urban environments in which we live. "I have always been curious about the structure of the city, which is both designed and accidental in nature," she states. "Originally a response to the rapid collapse and regrowth of my hometown of Pittsburgh, my curiosity about the origins and growth of cities has grown to encompass historical sources such as maps and architectural plans. I want the paintings to become objects that are every bit as varied, nuanced and strange as the world I find around me."
Dionne Haroutunian - 2002 Fellowship Recipient
"Being the daughter of an Armenian genocide survivor, I have an unwavering awareness of the violence and bloodshed taking place worldwide. My interest as an artist naturally gravitates toward themes such as wars, holocausts, discrimination and the need to bear witness. I wanted to incorporate images of people who had been stopped in the act of being alive—enjoying the present, and looking to the future. As my reflection deepened, I found myself drawn to vibrant colors, and rich textures to balance the sadness and keep the beauty and magic of life an integral part of my quest."
Deborah Mersky has developed a visually compelling personal vocabulary of images that emerge through the unique relief process of clay printing. "It is such a direct and simple process, a very responsive and soft relief technique, really, and it continues to occupy me. I find the clay surface to suit me perfectly. It can appear dry and textural, with a look of sturdy roughness that gives character to my work." Mersky’s subjects, which include birds, insects, leaves and vines, sometimes combined with vessels such as urns and oiljars and arranged into patterns, reflect the strength and mystery of the natural world. While the artist has worked in a wide variety of media, including etched glass and laser-cut steel, her work has almost always originated in studies made by pressing inked surfaces against paper.
Eva Isaksen’s early prints were monotypes. From there, she began to explore and incorporate collage, and most recently her work has involved the layering of very thin papers, printed using plants, seeds, yarn, fabric, rubber bands, plastic and linoleum, which are then collaged onto the surface of the piece. "My work is not traditional printmaking, but everything in my work is printed by hand or through a press. I do not paint or draw on the surface; all the material applied in my work is printed ahead of time."
Descriptions of Elizabeth Sandvig often include the words perseverance, passion, dedication, and generosity. Working most recently with sonograms derived from bird song, and with images and gestures of the female body, Sandvig continues to investigate and advance the print medium with agility. "I am stimulated by the struggle to make images and ideas come together by seeking the right combination of my hand and my mind in arriving at an energetic resolution, which is primarily visual, and secondarily pictorial," she says. For more than four decades, Sandvig has challenged herself artistically, in prints, paintings, mixed media and sculpture, and she has provided a model of achievement and a source of inspiration and encouragement for many artists in throughout her career.