NYC Emerging Artists Energize Wave Hill’s Sunroom Project SpaceSeason Opens April 22, 2015
A public garden and cultural center located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx, Wave Hill’s gardens and landscape are a springboard for artists exhibiting in its Sunroom Project Space. Now in its ninth year, the program offers Wave Hill’s curators an opportunity to commission a diverse set of emerging New York City-area artists to create new, site-specific projects for solo exhibitions. This year, 150 applications were considered.
The Sunroom provides an engaging setting for artists to explore the shifting relationship between humans and their spatial surroundings, both interior and exterior. Hilary Lorenz has commented that “The Sunroom’s size and the effect of the light as it changed during the day became influential elements that I considered when installing my show. Also, the special aspect of the grounds, in a city which is so compact, affected how I would work.” This year offers a variety of projects that engage with nature from the soil on Earth to outer space, from insect colonies to collaborative communities. The 2015 artists are aricoco, Kiran Chandra, Tamara Johnson, Eto Otitigbe and Holly Veselka. In addition, Van Lier Visual Artist Fellows Julian Chams and Beatrice Glow have been chosen by Wave Hill’s curators and will also exhibit in the Sunroom Project Space following their participation in Wave Hill’s 2015 Winter Workspace program.
Sunroom Project 2015 Schedule
April 22–May 31, Kiran Chandra Meet the Artist: SUN, May 3, 1:30PM
In the Sunroom, Kiran Chandra is creating an installation that incorporates sculpture, drawing and audio to explore the nature of non-human intelligence and empathy. Chandra is inspired by the 1925 book The Soul of the White Antby Eugène Marais, the South African poet, writer and naturalist, evoking the spirit of Marais’s observations of termite colonies and the role of communication within and around them. It will incorporate two termitary sculptures, pods made of plaster and covered in soil, from which the story of the white ant emerges. Chandra’s own lyrical text, together with a subtle and ambient sound piece, will be accompanied by observational drawings of swarms of fauna and flora.
June 7–July 19, Eto Otitigbe Meet the Artist: SAT, June 14, 1:30PM
To design his mixed-media sculptural forms Eto Otitigbe uses processes that are based on natural mathematical phenomena, such as the Fibonacci sequence, which creates a spiral pattern similar to those of seashells or tidal pools. His Sunroom Project involves a multi-step process that starts with photographing the Sunroom Project Space and other spaces at Wave Hill over the course of several months, and then creating renderings of digital sculptures and virtually inserting them into the photographs. Finally, he will make three physical sculptures to exhibit in the space; the sculptures’ shapes will be derived from the digital renderings.
June 7–July 19, Tamara Johnson
Meet the Artist: SAT, June 14, 1:30PM
For her Sunroom Project, Tamara Johnson will recreate the stone balustrade bordering the edge of Wave Hill’s lower lawn, installing a replica of it in the Sun Porch. The installation is meant to convey the notion of positioned viewing in an interior space, highlighting how architecture frames and directs the way that we observe our environment. At points where the balustrade meets the windows, the railing will extend outdoors onto the stone precipice bordering the porch, thus appearing to extend into empty space. This surreal element will animate the railing, transforming it from functional architecture into an object lacking purpose.
July 25–September 7, Holly Veselka
Meet the Artist: SAT, July 25, 1:30PM
In the 19th century, space travel existed purely as an invention of adventurous thinkers of the time, such as rocket enthusiast Claude Ruggieri and authors Jules Verne and Garrett P. Serviss. With these scientists, artists and philosophers in mind, Veselka will transform the Sunroom into a space suggestive of their interplanetary explorations. Manipulating and re-contextualizing digital and cultural artifacts—diagrams, illustrations, charts and maps—mined from the billions of terabytes available to contemporary audiences, Veselka will create images that she will then print onto fabrics to be used for her large-scale, high-definition, sculptural conversions.
July 25–September 7, aricoco (Ari Tabei)
Meet the Artist: SAT, July 25, 1:30PM
Artist aricoco uses recycled fabrics to weave clothing for protection and to create environments for habitation. For her Sunroom Project, aricoco will make a series of garments and headgear that represent an insect’s lifecycle, but in a setting that resembles a carnivorous garden inhabited by fantastical bugs. The project will culminate in a ritualistic performance by the costumed creatures as they develop new skills to survive their hostile surroundings. The installation will also include related sculptural props. These will form a ritual space for the insect colony, in the midst of which will reside a powerless queen—a community without a leader.
September 15–October 25, Julian Chams
Meet the Artist: TBD
Working in the space between the personal and the systematic, Julian Chams seeks to soften our information-laden world with tactile assemblages of memories, experiences and feelings. One of Wave Hill’s two 2015 Van Lier Visual Artist Fellows, Chams plans for his Sunroom Project to shroud the walls with fabric and photographs taken in and around Wave Hill’s grounds, in New York City and in his native Colombia. The installation will also include sculptural objects made of printed cloth and covered with photos. A path marked out with commonplace materials will invite visitors to navigate among soft bodies and sharp images, juxtaposing the representational world and that of the corporeal.
September 15–October 25, Beatrice Glow
Meet the Artist: TBD
As an alternative to current ideas about globalization, Beatrice Glow has focused on the pioneering people of Austronesia, a region that encompasses the oceanic islands that range from Madagascar to Easter Island. Glow developed ideas for her Sunroom Project during Wave Hill’s 2015 Winter Workspace program—an integral part of her Van Lier Visual Artist Fellowship this year. Framing the region through a settler-colonist lens, she will create an aromatic archive that brings to light the unsavory social costs of spices and herbs during the Age of Exploration, from the 15th to the 18th centuries. She will also examine the ways in which plant classification mirrors the ethnographic categorization imposed by foreigners.
Participating artists receive support from Wave Hill’s curatorial staff, have access to the grounds and are encouraged to engage with the visiting public. 2014 Sunroom Project Space artist Reade Bryan has commented that he had "shown my work in different capacities prior to exhibiting at Wave Hill, but the Sunroom, for me, ended up being the most professional exhibition. Working with the staff at Wave Hill, which included a curator, curatorial assistant and marketing professional, made the process more collaborative in a sense and allowed me to focus on my role of producing and installing the work.”
The program contributes significantly to the professional advancement of exhibiting artists. Recent Sunroom artist Jarrod Beck received the 2014 Clare Weiss Emerging Artist Award by the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. After their spring 2014 Sunroom Project closed at Wave Hill, the sculptural work that Kristyna and Marek Milde exhibited was later installed for long-term display at Manitoga: The Russel Wright Design Center in Garrison, NY, while another 2014 Sunroom artist, Hilary Lorenz, was awarded the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council’s Process Space residency on Governors Island, where she will be working on the next iteration of her ongoing Nomadic Geographies series.
Organized by Curator of Visual Arts Gabriel de Guzman, the Sunroom Project Space provides an opportunity for New York-area emerging artists to exhibit a site-specific installation. The selection for the 2016 season begins in March 2015. An information session for interested artists will be held at Wave Hill on March 22, at 2:30PM; online registration recommended. The deadline for the 2016 season is April 20. Guidelines and application information are available at www.wavehill.org/arts/artist-guidelines.
Wave Hill’s Sunroom Project Space is supported in part by the Milton & Sally Avery Arts Foundation. Additional support for the Visual Arts is provided by the New York Community Trust, the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, and by the Cathy and Stephen Weinroth Commissioning Fund for the Arts.
Wave Hill, Inc. is an independent, non-profit cultural institution governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. The buildings and grounds of Wave Hill are owned by the City of New York. With the assistance of the Bronx Borough President and Bronx representatives in the City Council and State Legislature, Wave Hill’s operations are supported with public funds through the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs; the Zoos, Botanical Gardens and Aquariums Grant Program administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation; the National Endowment for the Arts; the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; and the New York State Council on the Arts.