Yelena Bryksenkova

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Yelena Bryksenkova

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Yelena Bryksenkova is an illustrator and fine artist working primarily with acryla gouache. Her work is inspired by quiet moments and the comfort of everyday objects, as well as more magical, mysterious and melancholy themes.

Originally from St. Petersburg, Russia, Yelena studied illustration at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore and the Academy of Arts, Architecture and Design in Prague, Czech Republic. She currently lives and works in Los Angeles.

Yelena has illustrated various books for children and adults, most recently The Happiness Passport by Megan C. Hayes and Light Filters In, a book of poetry by Caroline Kaufman. She is currently working on a picture book biography of Mary Shelley. Her publishing and editorial clients include Chronicle Books, Abrams, Penguin Random House and the New York Times.  

During her residency at VAR, she plans on keeping a visual diary about her month in Northern California with the objective of re-discovering the habit of drawing for pleasure. She also plans to use the time and space provided by the residency to collect ideas for an illustrated book of her own.


For more info, visit https://www.yelenabryksenkova.com/


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Josh Lynch

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Josh Lynch

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Josh is a writer and poet working with words. His recent works have focused on the relationship between the depth of meditation practice and the emergence of creative thought. Josh lives and works in Melbourne, where he has co-founded A—SPACE, Australia’s first multi-disciplinary meditation studio.

Josh’s words have been featured in Oyster Magazine and Condition World.

During his residency at the VAR program, Josh plans to create the creative backbone of a book entitled ‘What I Talk About When I Talk About Nothing: An inquiry into the still movement of words’

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Ai Makita Returning Artist

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Ai Makita Returning Artist

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Ai Makita is an artist working with oil painting and digital media. Her recent works have focused on making organic images by using inorganic motifs such as metal. She sometimes uses optical illusion in her painting.


Ai Makita lives and works in Tokyo, where she received a MFA from Tokyo Art University.
Ai Makita is a recipient of 18th Taro Okamoto Award 2015, she won a grant from Pola Art foundation and participated in Residency Unlimited 2017. Ai Makita has exhibited in Consulate General of Japan in New York in May 2017, she was featured in Fuji Sankei Communications at the time.


During her residency at the VAR program, Ai Makita will deepen the idea of the relationship between the organic and inorganic by combining the reflections of metallic objects and seascape in her painting.

You can read an interview featuring Ai Makita here: https://medium.com/@leafbox/interview-ai-makita-57086097c8a9

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Aditi Machado

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Aditi Machado

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Aditi Machado is a poet and translator. Her books include Some Beheadings (Nightboat, 2017; recipient of The Believer Poetry Award 2018) and a translation, from the French, of Farid Tali’s Prosopopoeia (Action, 2016). She is also the author of the chapbooks Prologue | Emporium (Garden-Door, 2018), This Touch (Belladonna*, 2018), Route: Marienbad (Further Other Book Works, 2016), and The Robing of the Bride (Dzanc, 2013).

Her writing is engaged with landscape, haptic imagery, historical prosodies, and translation. Originally from Bangalore, India, presently she lives in Saint Louis, USA, where she is the Visiting Poet-in-Residence at Washington University. During her residency at the VAR program, she plans to work on her second poetry manuscript, Emporium, which reimagines the silk route as a twenty-first-century journey of eroded market desires. She also hopes to rejuvenate previous commitments to thinking with the landscape here on the American west coast, to which she has never been until now.






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Kristin Texeira Returning Artist

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Kristin Texeira Returning Artist

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The paintings I create are inspired from memories. I am possessed by the desire to collect and preserve interactions. When I connect with a person or place a flood of color pours in my mind and I use that color to translate the moment.

I have found that making work about the past can, at times, distract me from being present. I have relied on the concept that in order to understand a place I must leave it so that it can become a memory. This month I am working to undo that idea. I am practicing being completely in the moment by painting the landscape from my window as the light changes daily. Some projects I am working on will still rely on memory and ultimately, I will be able to compare meditations of the present to meditations of the past.

Kristin Texeira

https://www.instagram.com/kristintexeira/

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Shannon May Powell Returning Artist

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Shannon May Powell Returning Artist

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Shannon May Powell’s photographic work explores intimacy and sexuality through a gender sensitive lens that aims to challenge and abstract concepts of the body. Having graduated with honours at RMIT University in Melbourne, with a major in creative writing and minor in philosophy, her visual art is an aesthetic expression of prose and philosophy.

Shannon has exhibited in both solo and group shows nationally and internationally, such as Berlin Feminist film week (DE), New York Art Book Fair (US), The Honeymoon Sweet (AUS), The Centre for Contemporary Photography (AUS), and Collingwood Arts Precinct (AUS). She has been widely published by national and international publications such as INDIE magazine, Ain’t Bad Contemporary Photographic Journal, Whitelies magazine and i-D magazine where she contributes regular articles and photographic material.

In 2015, she published her first book after completing a residency at Torna Gallery and Bookshop in Istanbul, and recently returned to the Varda artist residency where she will be working on new content for a textile and photographic exhibition in 2019. She also hopes to take time to explore meditative rituals, record her dreams and begin to experiment with moving image.


http://www.shannonmaypowell.com/
https://www.instagram.com/shannonmaypowell/

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Natalie Rogers

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Natalie Rogers

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Natalie Rogers is a writer working on a novel and a series of personal essays. Her recent works have focused on the ways people heal from trauma.Natalie lives and works in Denver, where she is a PhD candidate in English and Creative Writing.

She is a recipient of a AHSS Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship from the University of Denver. Her writing has previously appeared online at Narrative and Juked, and an excerpt of her novel is forthcoming from Action, Spectacle later this fall. During her residency at the VAR program, Natalie plans to complete an essay describing how her grandparents’ mistakes continue to haunt her family.


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María Torres

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María Torres

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María Torres is a visual artist living between Berlin and Almería. She studied painting at the Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee and is currently settling down in an intentional community in the south of Spain.

Her latest works in drawing, painting, and video explore the notion of harmony in connecting contemporary art form with ancient tradition. Through the use of surreal imaginary her work captures attention and triggers contemplation and exploration. Spirituality, nature and the feminine are at the center of her work.

During her residency time at the VAR program, María Torres will develop a series of images inspired by the time spent with the nomadic cultures of Mongolia, where their spiritual beliefs and down to earth forms of art had a significant impact on her view of art making and crafts, placing creativity as a source for ritual.

María Torres has exhibited at the Contemporary Museum of Hohhot in China, UMA Gallery in UB Mongolia, Agora Collective in Berlin and Matadero Madrid, between others.

Video documenting The Rock Series

Feature by Curated by Girls

Feature by Tafmag Magazine

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Bronte Mae Webster

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Bronte Mae Webster

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Bronte Mae Webster is an artist working predominantly with the medium of paint. Her most recent works propose speculative sites that are imbued with spatial paradoxes and psychological tensions. Fragmented and rupturing, her paintings seek to repurpose and re-contextualize otherwise disparate elements into new compositions. Drawing upon art historical imagery, dynamic architectures, found material, biomorphic forms, and a visceral personal iconography, her works are both energetic and intimate.

Bronte lives and works in Melbourne, Australia, where she received a Bachelor of Fine Art at RMIT University, 2017. She has exhibited work at the Crowther Contemporary, Soma Gallery, Arts Inc. Gallery and has had a solo show at First Site Gallery. Bronte has been featured in and on the cover of Fead Magazine.

During her residency at the VAR program, Bronte plans on making a new body of work that will evolve from her observations and experiences of a unique international setting. Becoming almost archaeological in her approach, she will intuitively uncover and collect differing visual languages of the every day in an effort to unify them within the pictorial space.

www.brontewebster.com

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Esther Mirjam Griffioen

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Esther Mirjam Griffioen

Esther Mirjam Griffioen is originally from Holland but currently living in Brittany, France.

She studied theatre science at the University of Utrecht and worked in Paris with the French storyteller Henri Gougaud. She has been a storyteller herself for twenty years now and a therapeutic harpist (CTHP from International Harp Therapy Program, San Diego, CA) for ten years. As such she is working with cancer patients during their chemotherapy, in palliative care services and with seniors who have Alzheimer's disease. For the latest group, she developed a “method,” mixing traditional story and music.

As a dreamer, she has been much interested in symbols, archetypes and their primal vibrations since her teens. Her work in the therapeutic field and passions lead to workshops in cooperation with cymatic expert Jeff Volk

http://www.cymaticsource.com/events.html.

Having noticed that her therapeutic practice influences profoundly the way she accompanies other storytellers and poets with her harp and knowing from experience that the vibration of the music “carries” the words and opens up different worlds, she dreamt for long of making a solo performance in this sense but never found the time to do so. During the Varda Residency, she will be working on putting music to her favorite stories and train her brain to tell and play at the same time.

The two months will permit her to define herself more precisely as a performing artist and to work on a website.

Besides that, she would like to finish her second cd “Merisier, j’étais” she recorded last Autumn.  The cd will be accompanied by a booklet in French and English explaining what’s harp therapy about. The music is based on improvisations that came to life during therapeutic sequences in hospitals and is the departure point of the explanations.

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AMANDA KORDAL

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AMANDA KORDAL

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Mandy Kordal is a designer working and living in Brooklyn NY since her graduation from the University of Cincinnati DAAP in 2009. She has worked for ready to wear designers such as Trovata, JCrew, and Doori. After learning the ropes and discovering her passion for knitwear, she decided to buy her first knitting machine and create her own collection entitled Kordal Studio, where quality and ethical manufacturing are an integral part of the brand.

Mandy is a recipient of the Entrepreneur of the Year award from the Brooklyn Fashion Design Accelerator program, a past Artist in Residence at the Textile Arts Center, and an adjunct professor at Parsons School of Design.

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Mandy exhibited at Invisible Dog Gallery in 2012 and her company Kordal Studio has been featured in The New York Times, German Vogue, Nylon Magazine, Timeout New York, Refinery29, and WWD.

During her residency at the VAR program, Mandy plans to begin a body of work using post-consumer materials such as fabric scraps, yarn, and trims to create speculative prototypes, bridging the gap between fashion design and activism.  Her hope is that these thought-provoking studies could then be incorporated into larger scale rugs and weavings; highlighting the beauty of recycled textiles while also fostering conversation around textile waste.

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Sam O'Farrell

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Sam O'Farrell

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Sam O'Farrell is an artist working predominantly with ceramics. Her most recent works are a humorous approach to the hobbyist culture of craft. Pointedly and playfully referencing ceramic archetypes, her work mediates objects and images by using loose sculptural forms merged with found imagery that gestures toward magic and folklore.

Sam O'Farrell lives and works in Melbourne, Australia, where she received her BFA Honours at RMIT University.  She has been a recipient of the Trudie Alfred Bequest by the Australian Ceramics Association, a finalist for the Tom Bass Prize.

Sam O'Farrell has exhibited work in LON Gallery, Junior Space, Long Division, Neon Parlour and Guild of Objects.

Sam O'Farrell has been featured in The Journal of Australian Ceramics. Ladies of Leisure and Vampir Magazine.

During her time at the residency, Sam will be engaged in a new body of work that explores sculptural storytelling which will be partly developed in the houseboat and completed at Mill Valley Pottery studio.

Sam and Varda Artists Residency would like to thank Mill Valley Pottery Studio for their generous support.

https://www.samofarrell.com/

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Ai Makita

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Ai Makita

Sudden attack/ 203cm×152cm/ oil painting,  canvas / 2017

Sudden attack/ 203cm×152cm/ oil painting,  canvas / 2017

Ai Makita is an artist working with oil painting and digital media. Her recent works have focused on making organic images by using inorganic motif such as metal. She sometimes uses optical illusion in her painting.

Ai Makita lives and works in Tokyo, where she received an MFA from Tokyo Art University.

Ai Makita is a recipient of 18th Taro Okamoto Award for Contemporary Art in 2015, as well as a grant from Pola Art Foundation, and participated in Residency Unlimited in 2017.

Ai Makita has exhibited in Consulate General of Japan in New York in May 2017, she has been featured in Fuji Sankei Communications at the time.

During her residency at the VAR program, Ai Makita will deepen the idea of organic/inorganic by combining the reflections of metallic objects and seascape on her paintings. 

https://www.ai-makita.com/

Fragment / 220cm×338cm / oil painting on cloth, wooden board / 2017

Fragment / 220cm×338cm / oil painting on cloth, wooden board / 2017

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Caroline Kaufman - Returning Artist

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Caroline Kaufman - Returning Artist

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Caroline Kaufman is a New York City-based textile designer. She graduated from Pratt Institute in 2014 with a BFA in Fashion Design. The designer is known for her experimental textiles, hand painted prints, use of color, and playful point of view.

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Caroline carries a deep respect for storytelling and handcrafted art. She uses her painting practice to understand a limitless way of designing clothing and objects. Plants, animals, bikes, beetles, stripes, interiors, nostalgia, and dreams all provide inspiration for her craft. Her work finds a home in the space where art and design collide --the magic intersection of beauty and function.


Caroline's textiles and patterns have been used across fashion, homeware, accessories, stationery, murals, furniture, fabrics and many other dreamy surfaces. When she isn't in the studio she enjoys biking in the park, sitting in the sun, and cooking big slow savory meals.

On the boat, every part of life is art: waking up, eating an egg and toast on the dock, sweet conversations with other artists, sketching in the kitchen, and rowing out in the bay to say hello to the seals with one foot dragging in the water. These moments make up my time here at Varda Residency. I will continue to explore color through painting on paper and ‘painting’ with yarn. Daily life on the houseboat will seep into this practice, casting long-lasting inspiration and influence.

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Harriet Lee-Merrion

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Harriet Lee-Merrion

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Harriet Lee-Merrion is a British illustrator. Her work is rendered in a wash of pastel colors and delicate black lines influenced by botanical engravings, surrealism and Japanese woodblock prints, often depicting dreamlike and surreal imagery.

Harriet has worked with international clients including Google, TED, The Guardian, Bloomsbury and The New York Times, while her work has also been exhibited internationally in New York, London and Berlin. She is the recipient of a 3x3 International Illustration Award for Editorial Illustration and in 2016 was awarded a Distinguished Artist Scholarship by VYT to take part in an artist residency in New York. Harriet has been represented by Heart agency since 2014, she lives and works in Bristol, in the South West of England and has been working as an illustrator since graduating from Falmouth Arts University in 2013.

While at Varda Artist Residency Harriet will be working on her first collection of illustrated poetry.

 

Social Media

 Instagram: @harrietleemerrion

 Twitter: @hleemerrion

 

Press/Links

 

Together & Sunspell (Interview)

‘Harriet creates meditative, poetic and deeply evocative visual narratives exploring the themes of identity and femininity.

It's Nice That

‘Harriet Lee-Merrion’s emotionally charged, complex and thoughtful work is

absolutely breathtaking.’

Socks Studio

‘Surreal happenings are superposed with visual descriptions of house interiors and

slices of invented cities echo oriental inspirations.

Access Art

'The Dreamy World Of The British Illustrator Harriet Lee-Merrion'

Juxtapoz

'Emotionally stimulating, intricate and thoughtful work of fantastically conscientious worlds.'

Booooooom

‘Illustrator Spotlight’

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Aigerim Akenova - Returning Artist

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Aigerim Akenova - Returning Artist

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Aigerim Akenova is a contemporary designer working with fashion (AIKEN brand), textiles and concept design development (TEXSPIRE consultancy). Her recent works have focused on cultural identity. Her fashion brand AIKEN translates the nomadic spirit of discovery into uniquely refined designs that celebrate the infinite power of individuality and lifelong journey. Always bold, memorable, and intuitive, AIKEN expresses a keen technical appreciation toward textures, color, and form.

Aigerim lives and works in Astana, Kazakhstan, where she has recently accomplished a globally-scaled project for International Expo-2017 by creating and developing the core concept for the National Pavilion of Kazakhstan.

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Aigerim has graduated from Istituto Europeo di Design Moda Lab Milano for Fashion & Textile Design (2006-2009), has got an exchange student scholarship to study at FIDM, LA (2008) and has been chosen to showcase her thesis collection on the runway in Milan. She is a recipient of a grant from “Commune di Milano” for her MA degree at “New tech.style design” which she received in 2010 in Milan, Italy. 


Aigerim has made several runways at MBFW Almaty (RUNWAY SS17 / RUNWAY FW17/18) (Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week) and MBFW Astana with her brand AIKEN.

Aigerim has been featured in:  Kazakh TV - Women LeadersKazakh TV - Expo 2017 - National PavilionL’OFFICIELHarpers BAZAARBuro24/7 - “We run New York” special editorial projectBuro24/7 - AD campaign AIKENBuro24/7 - best FW17/18 collectionsBLVD MagazineTengri Magazine - in-flight magazine at AirAstana - national airlines of Kazakhstan and  Vogue Italia


During her residency at the VAR program, Aigerim plans to research sustainable solutions in textile & fashion and develop 1st seasonless womenswear collection by AIKEN, breaking the rules of the industry that encourage fast & unconscious fashion. In her concept design, she explores feminine identity and aims to empower women.

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Greta Van der Star

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Greta Van der Star

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Greta Van der Star is an Auckland based photographer working with film and 8mm motion film. 

Her focus is to contribute to and support a female directed representation of women in fashion and media. 

Greta trained in film photographer in New Zealand, receiving a bachelor of Design and Media Arts at Unitec. In 2015 Greta featured in a group show curated by Yasmine Ganly of AnyoneGirl, in collaboration with Local Creative in New York.

Greta's time in the residency will be used to teach herself sewing techniques that have been passed through her family. She will be combining these new skills with photographed images printed onto silk and cotton voile, cut and reconstructed to reference family heirlooms, and memory. 
Printing on fabric gives the images a softer and more emotional quality, and blankets represent a deep sentiment, demonstrating hours spent threading together pieces of fabric to gift a loved one. 
The images reconstructed represent memories, a souvenir from a moment, reflected upon, often jumbled in the brain, some moments more vivid than others.
The final output will be a small blanket or hanging, hand sewn with silk thread, from an image printed, and reprinted onto cotton voile and silk georgette. A series of images will accompany the blanket to demonstrate the blanket in use.

www.instagram.com/gretavanderstar

www.gretavanderstar.com

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Honey Long

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Honey Long

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Honey Long is an artist working within the mediums of photography, sculpture, performance, and installation. Her recent works have focused on relationships between human and non-human bodies and the lively exchanges that happen between. Within this, she is interested in the fetishization of objects, females, and nature. Through highlighting the agency inherent in all matter she seeks to interrogate the binary classifications often associated with these fields.

Long lives and works in Sydney, Australia, where she received a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the University of Sydney.

Along with her collaborator Prue Stent, Long was a recipient of the 2017 Life Framer Award and a participant in the 2016 Bouyrr residency in Connecticut, New York.

In Australia their work together has been exhibited at the Ballarat Foto Biennale, Centre for Contemporary Photography, ARC ONE Gallery, Melbourne, Murray Art Museum, Albury and Underbelly Arts Festival, Sydney. Internationally they have shown at  Fotofestwal Lodz, Poland, Reminders Photography Stronghold, Tokyo and Clamp Art, New York, with upcoming shows at Nicola Von Senger Gallery, Zurich, Fahey Klein Gallery, Los Angeles and PhotoEspana, Madrid.

Long and Stent’s work has been featured in recent publications such as Moon Man Magazine, London, (print), September Issues, London, (print) Vice Magazine; Focus Point: Prue Stent and Honey Long, Sirens Magazine; In conversation with Prue Stent and Honey Long and Dazed and Confused; The tension of how women look v how they’re expected to

During her residency at the VAR program Long worked with silicone, plaster and found objects to create sculptural pieces reminiscent of mutated seashells.

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Shannon May Powell

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Shannon May Powell

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Shannon May Powell is an Australian writer and photographer based in Berlin. Her work explores sexuality and psychogeography, the meaningful interaction between people and place. Her work has been exhibited in group exhibitions for the Berlin Feminist Film Week and most recently she held a solo show at The Honeymoon Suite in Melbourne, Australia. Her work has been featured in a number of prints and online publications such as i-D Magazine, Ain’t Bad Contemporary Photographic Journal, The Ladies Network, and Whitelies magazine where she contributes a regular column.

Shannon’s first book, The Anthropomorphism of objects is a Form of Play, focuses on sensual experience, using a seemingly two-dimensional medium such as photography to evoke an erotic experience. Having studied writing and philosophy at university, the curation of her photography lends itself to storytelling. The playful and abstract nature of her approach allows the perceiver to enter a world of magical realism.

When in residence, Shannon worked on a second book of prose and photography while in residence at the VAR program.

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Kristin Texeira - returning artist

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I paint to provide proof—for myself and others—of existing in certain moments in time. I paint to capture, document, and preserve memories. I translate the essence of moments through color by mixing up the poetics of people and places. I retell stories through various methods of mark-making using paint, collage, sketching and writing. This process preserves memories as tangible "maps." I often juxtapose these memory maps with short captions that form the foundation for the colors I mix. 

I paint to remember. Through subtle shifts in colors or ranges of contrasting colors, I attempt to create something familiar, and—at the same time—something entirely elusive and intangible, like a forgotten word on the tip of one's tongue. My colors blend and bounce off of each other. They tell of a person or place's ambiguous history. This vagueness is complemented by specifics in my writing, which—while focusing on a moment's singular identity and tender details—leaves much to the viewers' interpretation.

Color is what I see when I hear music, taste wine, or read the titles of short stories. It is how I decipher new places when traveling, and the people I meet along the way. Through color I am trying to remedy nostalgia; my paintings are the vessels that ferry viewers back in time, so they can encounter a moment again and again.

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