Trans-cen-der, a Salubrious Push in Bushwick

On Tuesday, January 31st, on a cold winter evening, the Temporary Storage Gallery space in Brooklyn Fireproof was heated up by a lively dialogue about art. Trans-cen-der Art Group launched their first meeting, featuring six speakers: Sharilyn Neidhardt, Christopher Stout, Cibele Vieira, Tim Gowan, Luis Martin, and Meer Musa. The second meeting will take place on Feb 28th at 7PM, featuring artists including Mary DeVincentis, Thomas Burr Dodd, Heidi King, Kurt Steger, Dan Romer, Susan Carr, among others.
AIB interviewed by email the three founders of this initiative: Meer Musa, Sharilyn Neidhardt, and Tim Gowan.

Cibele Vieira, part of the series "The Thread Has a Finger" , exhibits at "We need to talk.." at Petzel gallery until February 11
Cibele Vieira, part of the series “The Thread Has a Finger” , exhibits at “We need to talk..” at Petzel gallery until February 11

AIB: What is the genesis of Trans-cen-der Art Group?

SHARILYN: Christopher Stout ran a very similar group for three years called Bushwick Arts Critique Group. The three of us all attended and/or presented at some point and found it extremely enriching. When Christopher decided to focus on running a gallery, Bushwick Arts Critique Group stopped meeting. I started bugging Christopher about re-starting the group, and eventually he relented, so long as we called it something completely different. Christopher was ridiculously supportive in putting everything together. I quickly realized that I’d need help, and Christopher put me in touch with Meer and Tim, who had also asked about getting the group going again. I had met both Meer Musa and Tim Gowan before, through Arts in Bushwick and other arts-related events. We started meeting in November for a January launch.

TIM: I received an email from Christopher Stout announcing that he was turning over the reins of BACG to Sharilyn, and extended an invitation to me to be a part this great program. What I loved about BACG is that it a community event bringing artists and other like-minded people together.

AIB:  How long have you been in Bushwick / or associated with the neighborhood?

MEER: I have been living in Bushwick since 2010 and I have started to participate as soon as I was aware of the Bushwick Art Scene, which was the following summer during Bushwick Open Studios. My main medium is painting. I have shown my paintings in Storefront Ten Eyck, David and Schweitzer Contemporary, Studio 10 and, Parenthesis Space in Bushwick, Brooklyn.

SHARILYN: I’ve lived in East Williamsburg since 2008 and have had a studio (with Cibele Vieira) at Brooklyn Fireproof since 2015. I participated in Bushwick Open Studios from 2011 and served on the Arts in Bushwick core committee in 2016. I’m a painter who has shown with David & Schweitzer, Friday Studio Gallery, and Parenthesis, among others.

TIM: I was born in Queens, grew up on Long Island. In 1999 I decided to move within the City with the intention of moving to Astoria (affordable at one time).  But, as things should turn out, I unexpectedly moved to Ridgewood.

AIB: What are you aiming to achieve in these events ?

MEER: We are aiming to have artists share their work with other artists and curators, and speak about their works in front of a supporting crowd. It is a great opportunity for artists to expose their art work to a room full of audience, build an artist community, and support one another.

SHARILYN: It’s so easy for artists to get isolated, alone in a studio setting for hours at a time. My work transformed from an engrossing hobby to a serious practice once I started painting at Brooklyn Fireproof. Suddenly there were other artists in my space looking at my work, involving me in their projects, asking for my feedback. Feeling part of a community was not only healthier for me, but moved my work forward immeasurably. Now I just want to grow and enrich that community in any way I can, hopefully providing a similar salubrious push for other artists.

TIM: Community, community, community.  There’s nothing worse than walking into a gallery opening or social event where it appears that everyone knows each other except me…painfully awkward.  And I’m pretty sure I’m not the only one who’s ever felt that way.  So with Trans-cen-der, we want to foster community and create an environment that encourages social connection.  For example, at the end of the evening, we all go out to dinner and EVERYONE is not only welcome, but encouraged to join us.

Christopher Stout, upcoming solo at Lichtundfire Gallery in the Lower East Side April 2017
Christopher Stout, upcoming solo at Lichtundfire Gallery in the Lower East Side April 2017
Luis Martin, America Is My Sister, Collage 14 x 17 inches, 2016
Luis Martin, America Is My Sister, Collage 14 x 17 inches, 2016

AIB: Are you scheduling ahead?

MEER: The next slide presentation / Art Talk will take place on Tuesday, February 28th.

SHARILYN: Current plan is to meet the last Tuesday of the month for the foreseeable future. We are taking turns putting each evening together. In addition, we will be hosting smaller side-projects. I am hosting an informal chat session for artists who want to discuss the materials and techniques they use in their art practice, it’s scheduled for Thurs Feb 16.

TIM:  Meer will host this month (February), I will host next month (March), Sharilyn will host April, and then back to Meer for the month of May.

AIB: Can artists apply, is it invitational, or both?

MEER: Artist can apply. At the moment we may have a few space left. It will be eight artists maximum. If the space gets filled, we can keep them in mind for the following event.

SHARILYN: It’s both, and it’s up to the host of the evening to decide who presents.

TIM: We strongly encourage artists to apply, and not only local artist, but artists from all over are welcome to submit their work for consideration.

AIB:  What are your criteria for presenters?

MEER: Nine minutes talk and maximum 10 jpg (RGB) images from a series.  Images need to be 72 DPI at least 15” to 18” width and however in length. Artists can send JPGS to: transcenderartgroup@gmail.com   with WeTransfer or Dropbox storage space art file link.

SHARILYN: Currently we are considering only visual art that can be conveyed in still images. We can’t support video at the moment, but that’s something we are actively looking to change in the future. I don’t want to discourage video artists, but you might have to help us with the technical details!

AIB: I assume you are all artists? Tell me briefly about your own practice and if you are involved in community activity.

MEER: I am a painter, my other practices are drawings and photography.  Besides my involvement in Trans-cen-der Art Group I helped out during the Bushwick Open Studio opening events, set up and dismantle benefit art shows.

SHARILYN: I’m a painter and I also dabble in photography and printmaking.

TIM: I’m a painter and I also play with mixed media, street and guerilla art. Over the past three years, I have volunteered for numerous events associated with Arts In Bushwick, which includes Community Day, Open Studios, and other events where I am needed.

Meer Musa, ‘Indian Eyes’
Sharilyn Neidhardt ‘I Hit a Wall (Milwaukee)’ 2016, oil on canvas, 30 x 30 in
Tim Gowan (Untitled installation view)

AIB: Tell me about the first presenters: how did you put these artists together.

SHARILYN: I thought it would be easier to curate and invite other artists if we put ourselves through the process first. It became a way to practice putting the evening together and to focus our message. We included Christopher as the creative progenitor of Trans-cen-der, and he helped us get many details in place. Cibele Vieira and Luis Martin are supportive fellow travelers well-versed in creating and maintaining art communities.

MEER: Our first presenters included the team that started Trans-Cen-Der art group. We included Christopher Stout, who started Bushwick Art Crit, Sharilyn invited her studio mate Cibele Vieira, and I invited artist Luis Martin.

AIB: Anything I did not ask and you would love to share?

MEER: My sub group for “Artists who meditate” will soon have a place to meet and speak about how their practice helps them stay centered in order to make time for creativity.

SHARILYN: Our first night of presentations was an overwhelming success! I was excited by all the people who showed up not only to be supportive on a cold winter Tuesday, but also asked pointed questions, and were eager to participate. I’d also like to mention that we are indebted to Thomas Burr Dodd and Hazel Lee Santino of Brooklyn Fireproof for not only providing a space for us, but also for guiding our organizational process. We definitely could not be without their enthusiastic support.

TIM: I also want to thank Christopher Stout, Thomas Burr Dodd, and Hazel Lee Santino for their support.

Trans-cen-der Art Group

Temporary Storage Gallery space in Brooklyn Fireproof,  119 Ingraham Street Brooklyn, NY 11237

Instagram

 

 

 

Eclectic Transactions at Spring/Break (Part II)

by Etty Yaniv; all images by Etty Yaniv unless otherwise indicated

[continued from Part I]

In its fourth year, the curator-driven Spring/Break Art Show presented an impressive roster of over eighty curators and more than hundred artists who all approached the theme of “transaction” in a variety of ways. The fair took over a disused part of the historic James A. Farley Post Office with work ranging from solo to group exhibits, including some Bushwick curators and artists with diverse sensibilities, including large-scale installations, immersive projections, paintings and collages.

Wilson Duggan and Christopher Stout
Wilson Duggan (left) and Christopher Stout (right), with Duggan’s work Stranded

 

Christopher Stout, Artist and Founder of BACG curates a booth featuring four artists, Wilson Duggan, Eric Gottshall, Andrea Wolf Yadlin, and Thomas Stevenson. Wilson Duggan’s Stranded consists of inscribed pages from used books that he finds on discount racks.Each page in this series contains a personal inscription, either denoting ownership, or notes that signify the book as a gift. Framed and grouped, the marked pages convey a
meditation on the value these items once held for their owners.

 

Thomas Stevenson
Thomas Stevenson in front of his work

 

Sarah G. Sharp, a Bushwick resident, curates and participates in Use values. Youth Communes,  Sharp’s mixed media collage, evokes both a Russian religious icon and a Bolshevik propaganda poster. The golden threads emitted from the three girls in the foreground, overall group pose and the bold red type of Life magazine on top, coalesce into an iconic image with a critical gaze at media portrayal of utopian bliss. This work is part of The Youth Communes and the Pacific States series, in which Sharp reflects on the notion of Utopian subcultures in mass media reproduction by manipulating 60s and 70s magazine images of communes and idealized nature on the west coast.

The Youth Communes by Sarah G. Sharp
The Youth Communes by Sarah G. Sharp; image courtesy of the artist

 

Molly Dilworth’s Flag State/Red, Purple, Green repurposes retired sails into imaginary flags for container ships. Made from excess materials that are the byproduct of modern production, Dilworth’s “Flags” hang in a row with a bold and visceral presence. The combination of their abstract compositions and materiality suggest symbolic forms of language, signs of state and corporate power.

Flag State/Red, Purple, Green by Molly Dilworth
Flag State/Red, Purple, Green by Molly Dilworth

 

Fanny Allié, a Bushwick based artist, shows  65 Street Characters sculptures which breathe
new life into discarded objects. Allié transforms lost gloves that she finds on the streets of NYC  into toy-like stuffed characters and groups them in rows. Each character evokes a personal history: used, abandoned and reborn in its own way. As individual objects, they evoke a sense of transience, and  as a group they can read as a parable on harsh social realities. Comforting and disturbing at the same time, these Street Characters are
oddly alive.

Fanny Allié
Street Characters by Fanny Allié, curated by Chris Bors

 

In a dark echoing room, Bushwick artist Will Rahilly, aims two projectors at two bowls of
water resting above a pair of speakers. Synthetic sounds create interference patterns in the reflected image, which depicts an evolution of two figures engaged in a cacophonous sonic language until they are destroyed. This visually intriguing multimedia installation brings to mind gridlike abstractions from the 70s computer graphics, peppered with additional layers of sci-fi vibes.

Boils by Will Rahilly
Boils by Will Rahilly, curated by Alva Calymayor; image courtesy of the artist

 

Jac Lahav and Jordan Buschur curated Trash4Gold, a group show which evokes alchemy and transformation. Lahav’s Cripplebush  draws upon a 1800’s map of Williamsburg/Bushwick; the title refers to the original name of Northern Brooklyn, which was known as Cripplebush for the predominant cripplebush trees in this swamp filled area. Lahav, who has been living in the Buwhwick/Greenpoint area for fifteen years and has witnessed how the neighborhood has changed,  is reflecting here on the nature of urban transformation. His vertical map grows from a dark foreground and protrudes upward, resonating an outline of an abstracted figure. This schematic persona is pushing upwards beyond the limits of the canvas, just like the neighborhood it embodies.

Cripplebush by Jac Lahav
Cripplebush by Jac Lahav; image courtesy of the artist

 

Jackie Mock, another artist in Trash4Gold, pins tiny colorful fragments from NYC subway stations to a white surface and frames the  small scale relief with a heavy set brown frame. Assuming the air of an artifact in a musty natural history museum, Mock’s fragmented pieces resemble archaic mosaics or exotic minerals. It is notable how she manages to capture with minimal measures such an elegant, precise and rich image of elapsing time in a place where most New Yorkers rush by daily.

Paint Samples from Various New York City Subway Stations by Jackie Mock
Paint Samples from Various New York City Subway Stations by Jackie Mock; image courtesy of the artist

#SetintheStreet is an ongoing art project in which Justin Bettman builds elaborate sets out of unwanted materials and furniture, mostly found on the street, such as White and Seigel Street in bushwick. After shooting the photos, the sets are left up on the street, where passersby can shoot their own photos and share using the Instagram hashtag #setinthestreet.

Bushwick Typewriter Living Room by Justin Bettman
Bushwick Typewriter Living Room by Justin Bettman, #SetintheStreet; image courtesy of the artist

 

Rhonda Wall’s intricate collage- paintings resemble a condensed time capsule, where past, present and future merge into a new yet oddly familiar space. With a surreal bent and meticulous attention to detail, patterns and color, she coalesces cut-outs from technical textbook, newspapers, and advertisement onto geometric or psychedelic backdrops. These result in a wildly unique and engaging imagery, beyond any categorization.

Discovering Earth by Rhonda Wall
Discovering Earth by Rhonda Wall, curated by Renée Riccardo

 

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The fourth annual Spring/Break Art Show took place at the Skylight at Moynihan Station, March 3-8, 2015.

Inspired by Thomas Stevenson’s Rule 9: ART IS A JOB, I went on the look out for people looking good and working in art fields.  Whether they were in the classic artist uniform of black and white or rocking a bold teal dress, these working artists were all looking DAMN GOOD during BOS 2014 while they showed, curated, enjoyed, or performed!  

Bushwick goes to Fountain

by Nicole Durbin

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Earlier this month Bushwick artist and community mainstay Christopher Stout showed his work at Fountain Art Fair, the leading fair for independent, experimental, and avant-garde art. For readers who don’t already know Stout, you should! He organizes the monthly Bushwick Art Crit Group, works out of his studio at Brooklyn Fireproof, and is an active contributor right here at the Arts in Bushwick blog.

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This year’s Fountain Fair took place in the massive 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Ave. Walking around is a little surreal; a prefab gallery city where the walls don’t reach the ceiling. Director Elizabeth Tully made the decision to show Stout’s work at Fountain in part because of his status in the Bushwick arts community. As Stout explained, “[AiB Press and Sponsorship coordinator] Samantha Katz made the initial introduction between [Tully and I]. Then Beth came out and did a studio visit, and we kept talking, and Samantha came out and we shot a video together, and things got a little bigger and a little bigger and a little bigger, and I decided I’d do the show.”

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There are lots of good reasons why artists participate in art fairs- to gain exposure, to connect with collectors, to sell work. Unsurprisingly, Stout especially relished the opportunity Fountain provides to connect with other artists. “I am connecting with so many people who are coming to the shows who are artists. I feel a very huge sense of being inside the circle. And there’s so many times, as an artist, where you don’t feel like you even fit in the art world sometimes.”

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At first glance Stout’s work looks imposing. Several pieces are large, and all use the ominous color pallet you see in a lot of Italian Futurist works (dark grays, rust, black). But closer inspection presents a contradiction – many of the pieces have visible printed phrases, and the text undercuts the severity of the presentation. “It’s all about obsequious emotional things… You get close to it, then you realize that you can read, and the phrases are usually nonsensical, things which are not convenient. ‘Casting off of.’ ‘Often and alone.’”

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Christopher Stout’s work will be on view as part of Bushwick Open Studios, May 30 – June 1, 2014.

 

Bushwick Art Crit Group Celebrates

by Christian Finbar Kelly

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Christopher Stout, founder and lead organizer of Bushwick Art Crit Group

Once a month, some of the coolest and most talented people in the world are attending one event, Bushwick Art Crit Group (BACG), located in the art gallery of the Brooklyn Fire Proof East Warehouse. An artist-run organization founded by Bushwick artist Christopher Stout, BACG provides a place for artists to present their work via projection as they speak about their pieces, themselves, the mediums they employ, and where they plan to take their work. Each artist has nine minutes to present and may show up to ten pieces. Questions from the audience further fuel the exchanges.

This past Wednesday, BACG celebrated its first anniversary with another artistically charged evening of presentations. The works discussed and shown were as diverse as the Bushwick community: Ceramics, illustration, painting, and installation are only a few of the past week’s disciplines. Stout welcomed the standing-room-only crowd, and the presentations, documented in the following photo gallery, began:

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Adam Bohemond speaks about his work while the crowd views a series of projections

imageGustavo Dao shows off his ability to communicate how hilarious and embarrassing being a human can be

imageBeata Charzanowska presents her intimate works of love and sexuality

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Miguel Libarnes shows how serious topics and feelings can still be playful

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 Andrew Cornell Robinson uses ceramics to depict social injustice, providing a staggering inspiration for any artist or activist

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For more information or to participate in Bushwick Art Crit Group, visit bushwickartcritgroup.tumblr.com/ or email Stout at christopher.stout@gmail.com

by Christopher Stout

Spotlight on AiB Community Outreach Team and Call for Volunteers

It’s pretty safe to assume that many Bushwick residents, and especially the arts community, associate Arts in Bushwick specifically with Bushwick Open Studios, our once-a-year, spring festival. But along with producing neighborhood arts festivals, Arts in Bushwick has aligned our organization’s mission around facilitating community projects and opening meaningful community dialogues. This is a year-round endeavor!

 

One of the most excellent examples of AiB’s mission-in-action is our Community Outreach team.

 

Under the direction of Lauren Smith and Megan Treviño, AiB Community Outreach is a dedicated volunteer team of artists, arts educators, and community organizers, creating a series of free, widely accessible arts activities and programming for all Bushwick residents.

 

What does this mean exactly? This means developing community partnerships, and utilizing the Bushwick arts community as a tool within our neighborhood to develop arts education opportunities for students, and engaging arts programming for families and individuals of all ages. It’s all about the current hot topic of investing in Bushwick’s future.

 

A noteworthy moment in this spring’s Community Outreach program was the unveiling of a community mural during Bushwick Open Studios weekend, at the new aquaponic OKO farm space at the Moore Street Market (La Marqueta de Williamsburg).  

 

In partnership with muralist and Bushwick resident, Miriam Castillo, the AiB Community Outreach team was able to ideate, plan, and deliver a public mural project with junior high students from Bushwick’s Beacon Center for Arts and Leadership (a Program of the Coalition for Hispanic Family Services). The students addressed the theme, “How Does Food Unite People?” Project materials were generously donated by Materials for the Arts and Home Depot.

The pictures included in this article are from the Arts in Bushwick Community Mural launch. The completed mural was unveiled in a ceremony during Bushwick Open Studios festival weekend.

 

Although the mural project is a shining example of the Community Outreach Team’s ability to develop community partnerships, the team also serves our community in ongoing ways, including recurring free arts workshops, and special events throughout the year. The team is also excited to launch a mentoring program this year and hopes to further expand its reach to serve the needs of the Bushwick community.


Although many of the current team members have backgrounds in arts education and community organizing, the AiB Community Outreach team is always looking for volunteers, sponsors, or in-kind donations of art supplies.

 

If you are interested in learning more or getting involved, please email Lauren Smith and Megan Treviño at community@artsinbushwick.org

Second Meeting of Bushwick Art Crit Group Introduces 16 Artists

by Juniper Alcorn

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Last Wednesday night the Bushwick Art Crit Group held their second meeting at Brooklyn Fire Proof East. Founded by Christopher Stout in March, the group is designed to provide a supportive network for local artists to preview their work and receive critical and creative feedback. There is no fee to present, and the public is welcome to attend meetings. The typical meeting structure presents six area artists, each allotted 10-minute presentations of their work accompanied by a slide show, including question and answer with the audience.  

 

The second meeting was a “preview” of a selection of artists who will be exhibiting work at Bushwick Open Studios. With sixteen artists, presentation time was limited to three minutes apiece with only two slides of images. Presentations were also more guided than a typical Crit Group meeting: artists were asked to comment on their relationship to Bushwick, their previous work, and the work they will be presenting at Bushwick Open Studios. Q&A was meant to be limited to three minutes per artist but at ten artists in it was clear the meeting would be going well over time to get to everyone.

Given that it was a “preview” meeting, the variety of work covered, which ranged from film to ceramics to wax sculpture to photography to drawing, was a brilliant microcosm of the work you will see around Bushwick at the end of the month. However the number of artists presenting was a bit ambitious, and the goals of the meeting a little bit unclear: critique? PR? Exhibition? A number of artists presented without comment or receiving only a single superficial comment (“What are the dimensions of the piece?” was a favorite, and received no follow up). Surprisingly, even after a number of people left at the official 8:30 end time, discussion became liveliest toward the end of the meeting. Even then, however, it was limited by the display of work by each artist. With only two slides to accompany a three minute presentation covering their relationships to Bushwick, their background in the arts, and their current work, it was rare that discussion focused on a particular image at all, rather than the entire project which could only be hinted at. For works in progress, this must be helpful, but the breadth of presentations, accompanied by narrow examples and limited time for discussion, seemed to preemptively abbreviate consistent contributions from the audience.

 

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Bushwick Art Crit Group will return to their original ten minute format for their next meeting in July. Artists interested in presenting for critique at the next meeting can contact Christopher Stout for more information.

Second Meeting of Bushwick Art Crit Group Introduces 16 Artists

by Juniper Alcorn

image

Last Wednesday night the Bushwick Art Crit Group held their second meeting at Brooklyn Fire Proof East. Founded by Christopher Stout in March, the group is designed to provide a supportive network for local artists to preview their work and receive critical and creative feedback. There is no fee to present, and the public is welcome to attend meetings. The typical meeting structure presents six area artists, each allotted 10-minute presentations of their work accompanied by a slide show, including question and answer with the audience.  

 

The second meeting was a “preview” of a selection of artists who will be exhibiting work at Bushwick Open Studios. With sixteen artists, presentation time was limited to three minutes apiece with only two slides of images. Presentations were also more guided than a typical Crit Group meeting: artists were asked to comment on their relationship to Bushwick, their previous work, and the work they will be presenting at Bushwick Open Studios. Q&A was meant to be limited to three minutes per artist but at ten artists in it was clear the meeting would be going well over time to get to everyone.

Given that it was a “preview” meeting, the variety of work covered, which ranged from film to ceramics to wax sculpture to photography to drawing, was a brilliant microcosm of the work you will see around Bushwick at the end of the month. However the number of artists presenting was a bit ambitious, and the goals of the meeting a little bit unclear: critique? PR? Exhibition? A number of artists presented without comment or receiving only a single superficial comment (“What are the dimensions of the piece?” was a favorite, and received no follow up). Surprisingly, even after a number of people left at the official 8:30 end time, discussion became liveliest toward the end of the meeting. Even then, however, it was limited by the display of work by each artist. With only two slides to accompany a three minute presentation covering their relationships to Bushwick, their background in the arts, and their current work, it was rare that discussion focused on a particular image at all, rather than the entire project which could only be hinted at. For works in progress, this must be helpful, but the breadth of presentations, accompanied by narrow examples and limited time for discussion, seemed to preemptively abbreviate consistent contributions from the audience.

 

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Bushwick Art Crit Group will return to their original ten minute format for their next meeting in July. Artists interested in presenting for critique at the next meeting can contact Christopher Stout for more information.

New Bushwick Art Crit Group Offers Valuable Support Network to Artists

by Holly Shen Chaves

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Every artist has vivid memories of the bemoaned art critique. But for most, those tedious feedback sessions with professors and fellow studio-mates  are a thing of the past, a touchstone of bachelors and masters fine arts programs. But that doesn’t change the fact that thoughtful criticism is a fundamental element of artistic growth. This is what spurred Christopher Stout, a Bushwick-based artist, to launch the Bushwick Art Crit Group two months ago. The group’s first meeting took place on March 20th at Brooklyn Fireproof East and will continue to convene every other month, with the next critique session scheduled for this coming May 15th, also at BFE (scroll to bottom for more information about participating).

The mission of Bushwick Art Crit Group, self-described as, “a newly formed networking and creative development community,” is to provide Bushwick artists a nurturing environment in which to share and preview their work in order to receive feedback and creative input.

BACG is an artist-run organization and there is NO fee to present your work or attend BACG meetings. All are welcome.

Each session, six Bushwick artists give 10-minute presentations of their work using digital slides shown via projector and answer audience questions. The artists may present ANYTHING they want, and speak about their work in general, recent work, or utilize the audience to hear criticism about work they are having issues with in their studios. Meetings, which run about 70-90 minutes in length, are followed by drinks and networking in the BFPE café and bar. Participants and audience members may offer a critical eye, but are also asked to keep their questions and comments respectful, as this is intended as a community-building forum.

Debut artist participants of the inaugural session included: Linda Griggs, J.F. Lynch, Sarah Reynolds, Ian Sklarsky, Emily Wolfer, and Jeanne Tremel. To give future participants the artist’s perspective about sharing their work at an art crit, we asked each of our March participants to share a few words about their experience at BACG and what insights they gained about their own practice and work from presenting.

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Our very FIRST presenter in our very FIRST meeting was painter Linda Griggs, who Stout met through the E32 art crit group in the Lower East Side, which Griggs tireless ran.  Says Griggs, “I do story art and I learned I can’t count on myself to remember the stories verbatim.  I have to have my notes in front of me in large format so I can read them in the dark. I also learned from sitting on the other side of the projector, how encouraging it can be to just have someone see and respond to your work.  I never felt that with my own project, E32, because I was busy running the show and couldn’t relax and enjoy the moment and also because I had picked myself to be in it.  It kind of doesn’t count in a way.  It felt completely different to be able to be invited by Christopher and to present only as an artist. I think the time is ripe for projects like these.  There’s been a lot of focus on the damaging aspects of the hyper-inflated art market which keeps artists from interacting creatively with each other. Bushwick Art Crit Group and E32 bring artists together to challenge and encourage each other, something that for many abruptly ends after art school.”   

The second presentation of the evening was given by J.F. (John) Lynch, who shared his drawings. Lynch reflects, “It was wonderful having the chance to present new work to such an interested and knowledgeable group of people. It is always great to be able to come back to the studio with fresh perspectives on language, history and theory.” 

Sarah Reynolds, the third artist to participate, also previewed new drawings, and the audience seemed to enjoy being able to compare and contrast the two drawing presentations given back-to-back. Writes Reynolds of the experience, “I often find myself wanting my work to speak for itself without the assistance of me explaining the concept. When I was asked to participate in the first BACG Art Crit, I forced myself to dig deep to find some of my truer intentions for my work. Thus, realizing my childhood goal of becoming a surgeon and my previous bouts with OCD had greatly guided my love for charcoal and my refined aesthetic.”

The fourth presentation was given by Ian Sklarsky, who works in illustration, specifically with blind contour drawing. Ian recounts his participation, “Reaching out to an art community is something I NEED. This was a fantastic night to present, and while it was my first time in a while, I felt everyone showed amazing work. As we explained our art, I felt everyone engaged in the method and slides, it was a great night to meet so many wonderful artists and to expand into a new world of community.”

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Painter and assemblage sculptress Jeanne Tremel, whose studio is in Brooklyn Fire Proof East, also had a positive experience, “My approach to talking about my work is nearly the same approach as doing the work – the paintings & sculpture – which is really ‘play.’ I just wing it, awkwardness and all, and hope the mix invites a response. What I appreciated about the evening was the presenters’ genuine-ness and the audience warmth and receptiveness – the sense of community being the goal.”

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Bushwick Art Crit Group meets again on Wednesday May 15th at 7pm in the gallery at Brooklyn Fire Proof East.

For May, BACG will have a SPECIAL program specifically tailored for artists who are participating in Arts in Bushwick Open Studios.

Please join us and support your local artists in Bushwick!

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Written in collaboration with artist and Founder of Bushwick Art Crit GroupChristopher Stout, along with the BACG March artists. Lead Photography image contributed by stylist Glen Proebstel.

New Bushwick Art Crit Group Offers Valuable Support Network to Artists

by Holly Shen Chaves

image

Every artist has vivid memories of the bemoaned art critique. But for most, those tedious feedback sessions with professors and fellow studio-mates  are a thing of the past, a touchstone of bachelors and masters fine arts programs. But that doesn’t change the fact that thoughtful criticism is a fundamental element of artistic growth. This is what spurred Christopher Stout, a Bushwick-based artist, to launch the Bushwick Art Crit Group two months ago. The group’s first meeting took place on March 20th at Brooklyn Fireproof East and will continue to convene every other month, with the next critique session scheduled for this coming May 15th, also at BFE (scroll to bottom for more information about participating).

The mission of Bushwick Art Crit Group, self-described as, “a newly formed networking and creative development community,” is to provide Bushwick artists a nurturing environment in which to share and preview their work in order to receive feedback and creative input.

BACG is an artist-run organization and there is NO fee to present your work or attend BACG meetings. All are welcome.

Each session, six Bushwick artists give 10-minute presentations of their work using digital slides shown via projector and answer audience questions. The artists may present ANYTHING they want, and speak about their work in general, recent work, or utilize the audience to hear criticism about work they are having issues with in their studios. Meetings, which run about 70-90 minutes in length, are followed by drinks and networking in the BFPE café and bar. Participants and audience members may offer a critical eye, but are also asked to keep their questions and comments respectful, as this is intended as a community-building forum.

Debut artist participants of the inaugural session included: Linda Griggs, J.F. Lynch, Sarah Reynolds, Ian Sklarsky, Emily Wolfer, and Jeanne Tremel. To give future participants the artist’s perspective about sharing their work at an art crit, we asked each of our March participants to share a few words about their experience at BACG and what insights they gained about their own practice and work from presenting.

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Our very FIRST presenter in our very FIRST meeting was painter Linda Griggs, who Stout met through the E32 art crit group in the Lower East Side, which Griggs tireless ran.  Says Griggs, “I do story art and I learned I can’t count on myself to remember the stories verbatim.  I have to have my notes in front of me in large format so I can read them in the dark. I also learned from sitting on the other side of the projector, how encouraging it can be to just have someone see and respond to your work.  I never felt that with my own project, E32, because I was busy running the show and couldn’t relax and enjoy the moment and also because I had picked myself to be in it.  It kind of doesn’t count in a way.  It felt completely different to be able to be invited by Christopher and to present only as an artist. I think the time is ripe for projects like these.  There’s been a lot of focus on the damaging aspects of the hyper-inflated art market which keeps artists from interacting creatively with each other. Bushwick Art Crit Group and E32 bring artists together to challenge and encourage each other, something that for many abruptly ends after art school.”   

The second presentation of the evening was given by J.F. (John) Lynch, who shared his drawings. Lynch reflects, “It was wonderful having the chance to present new work to such an interested and knowledgeable group of people. It is always great to be able to come back to the studio with fresh perspectives on language, history and theory.” 

Sarah Reynolds, the third artist to participate, also previewed new drawings, and the audience seemed to enjoy being able to compare and contrast the two drawing presentations given back-to-back. Writes Reynolds of the experience, “I often find myself wanting my work to speak for itself without the assistance of me explaining the concept. When I was asked to participate in the first BACG Art Crit, I forced myself to dig deep to find some of my truer intentions for my work. Thus, realizing my childhood goal of becoming a surgeon and my previous bouts with OCD had greatly guided my love for charcoal and my refined aesthetic.”

The fourth presentation was given by Ian Sklarsky, who works in illustration, specifically with blind contour drawing. Ian recounts his participation, “Reaching out to an art community is something I NEED. This was a fantastic night to present, and while it was my first time in a while, I felt everyone showed amazing work. As we explained our art, I felt everyone engaged in the method and slides, it was a great night to meet so many wonderful artists and to expand into a new world of community.”

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Painter and assemblage sculptress Jeanne Tremel, whose studio is in Brooklyn Fire Proof East, also had a positive experience, “My approach to talking about my work is nearly the same approach as doing the work – the paintings & sculpture – which is really ‘play.’ I just wing it, awkwardness and all, and hope the mix invites a response. What I appreciated about the evening was the presenters’ genuine-ness and the audience warmth and receptiveness – the sense of community being the goal.”

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Bushwick Art Crit Group meets again on Wednesday May 15th at 7pm in the gallery at Brooklyn Fire Proof East.

For May, BACG will have a SPECIAL program specifically tailored for artists who are participating in Arts in Bushwick Open Studios.

Please join us and support your local artists in Bushwick!

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Written in collaboration with artist and Founder of Bushwick Art Crit GroupChristopher Stout, along with the BACG March artists. Lead Photography image contributed by stylist Glen Proebstel.