Artist Statements | 11th Annual Juried Show


Magically disappearJohn Affolter
The collision between a real time awareness and creative energy is where art making becomes most interesting. When President Trump was filmed stating that he had the power to shoot someone on “5th Ave” and get away with it, he used his hands to mimic aiming and shooting a gun. Disturbed, I started the “Gloves” project, using working class leather gloves shaped to mirror Trump’s hand motions while he made controversial public statements.


On February 7, 2020 Trump told the world – while making a distinctive gesture with his hands – that the corona virus was nothing to worry about, that, “it would magically disappear”. A set of gloves were devoted to this artwork, which echoes those infamous hand gestures.


Dorothy Anderson Wasserman
My photo collages serve as personal narratives made in response to life circumstances. By exclusively using my own photographs and assembling the images by hand there is an intimacy and directness in the art-making experience. “Corn Maze” was created during a time when it was necessary for me to make difficult decisions; choices affecting not only myself but others as well.


Suffering was inevitable. A discernment was necessary to weed through the entanglement of inner advice-giving voices. The process gave rise to courage and trust in personal truth.


Anastasia Babenko
My hometown and I are the same age. I grew up in Slavutych, the northernmost town in Ukraine, purposely built for the evacuated personnel of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant after the 1986 disaster. I grew up surrounded by lush pine forests. The mushrooms were plentiful, and sometimes we would go foraging, with a particular interest in wild chanterelles and ‘penny buns’. The 30-mile proximity to Chernobyl did not feel scary.


Recently, I moved to Seattle. As I navigate this transition into the seemingly laidback Pacific Northwest, I keep meeting strangers. I meet people at the galleries, grocery stores, and bars. I seem to find so many of them, just like the ‘penny buns’ in late September. Some I invite to pose for me. Together we create a safe space outside of normal.


Amy Broderick
My work explores our human quest to use record keeping – especially in its material form as pages and files – to bring into order the wilds of the universe – to name them into submission. Ultimately, I am committed to celebrating the outright futility of this quest.


This work embodies my interest in the materiality of records – the data point itself, the page itself, the file itself. What discoveries are possible when the quest for understanding surpasses the limits of our ability to describe and name? Is the flush of feverish discovery not tempered by the methodical process of documentation? Can we so hone our descriptions of the wondrous that they provide portals from quiet offices to indescribable bliss?


Kathleen Caprario
A question that simultaneously grounds and challenges me is—how do I as a white woman in America (re) locate myself in respect to the histories and critical conversations surrounding racism, the land, art and privilege in America? Where am I and where should I be within those relationships?

Landscape is frequently considered in Western societies as merely the backdrop against which human activity occurs that alters and consumes its natural resources. In this way, it is similar to wallpaper, an important but often overlooked environmental influence. My mixed media painting and installation work explores the intersection of physical place and cultural space through the open language of pattern.


Organic patterns abstracted from my experience of the Sweet Briar Slave Cemetery, while an artist resident at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, are contrasted with painted wallpaper designs (Sweet Briar Rose) from the Sweet Briar Plantation House.


Lisa Gordillo
I make works of art that dig into hidden histories. My work focuses on human rights, international acts of violence, and the body’s awareness of itself in space. I use tactile, sensory materials such as fibers and household spices, and add found objects that carry their own meanings into the work. In doing so, I aim to create intimate relationships between a visitor and the space they are in, to build poetic landscapes that investigate the holes in our cultural storytelling.

All the poets I’ve ever (we could have ever) loved considers U.S. complicity in Guatemala’s genocide, and reflects more generally on international cultures of violence.


Trompos – traditional spinning toys that also resemble grenades – line up in military formation, connecting play with the global indoctrination of children into war.


Deborah Kapoor
This is a gown I found my mother in when I visited her in the nursing home where she lives. I was upset to find her in this when I had sent her clothes in designs and colors she likes. I took the gown when I left. I brought it to Brooklyn as raw material to work with during the Michael David ‘Hurt’ Residency.


I rendered it colorless intentionally to represent the progressive loss. The work is called Albatross, really for her.


Marianne McCraney
The works entitled Deflated and Free Listening are part of my series This Side Up. When we began the shelter-in-place in March I was extremely vigilant, ordering what I needed online. Although I began by painting pandemic items such as hand sanitizer, it was when I painted the first box from an online delivery that I realized that this was a subject that I wanted to explore further.


Boxes and packages arrived almost daily. They served as a connection to the world outside. Fascinated by the rules, regulations, stickers and tape displayed on them – and the occasional pop of color – I painted boxes that showed wear from the journey. My focus was not the contents, but the packaging – mundane, necessary, and beautiful.


Layl McDill
Stories help us make sense of our world and help us connect with others. I want my polymer clay sculptures to be filled with the sensation of story. My work is derived not from fables or myths, but out of my own stories, new and mysterious.


“Foxes Chasing the Moon” should feel like a fairy tale that you haven’t heard yet. The tiny foxes are movable, adding to the idea that they might be puppets used to tell the story. And then this all takes place on a teapot – an everyday object turned into something fantastical.


Leighton McWilliams
I grasp at images whirling around and select some that require quiet contemplation. My work is about me and the people who are close to me: a narrative, but in fragments and pieces. The viewer must take themselves into my little reliquaries and seek the thread.

Beginning in the 19th century silver was made light sensitive by the addition of chemicals. To most the process appeared more alchemical than rational. As photography has progressed the hand of the image maker becomes more distant. The sculptural form my work has taken is a response to this distance.


Materials are cut and sanded, tools are manipulated; glue and tung oil are spilled. I include actual objects along with the images that have been filtered through my computer. These pieces won’t disappear when hard drives crash.


Autumn Nicole
Polar poses questions of access, consent, and ownership; of youth and age, the past and the present. What do we do with intimate photos when a relationship has ended? What happens when an individual revokes a consent that was once given? Who has a say? Who doesn’t?

Often, it’s images of women’s bodies that are taken, sent and consequently held on to. This work symbolizes the disproportionate way women’s bodies are shared. The poses are idealized and sexualized, either taken by the body being featured or by a secondary person.

The felt in Polar represents the blur or memory, the softness in recalling events, and lack of clarity.


The inclusion of sewing references a domestic, traditionally female task. Additionally, the work connects something both old and contemporary: the past popularity of polaroids and the re-popularization of this camera today.


Jeffrey Olson
The central theme of my work has always lain within the primacy of the brushstroke in the process of painting. It is in essence the evidence of the physical interaction of the artist with the “stuff of this world,” – an evidence of life. In my work I try to capture that moment of becoming, when the paint on the canvas floats between what it is and what it might be.

Fire Walls are a line of defense, or in some cases, a last stand. My painting, at a fundamental level, is about transformation.


The process of painting becomes an echo of the traces left from a story of living imprinted on the land.


Sarah Peterman
Raw wool, or fleece sheared from sheep, is a material that has attracted me since childhood, as I watched my mother spin and weave. I enjoy the feel, colors and smell, and the natural lanolin soothes my dry skin. When first collected for this project, the fleece was handed to me, warm and steamy. The sheep farmers want- ed me to make good use of the multicolored wool, which is often composted, un- like the prized white wool.


I was taken with the idea of composting and the piece took the form of a compost bin. This sculpture is intended to be outdoors; the wool could be replenished or just left to decompose. Interaction with nature completes the work.


Rotem Reshef
In an era of “Alternative Facts”, “Fake News” and decline of consensus over science objectivity in favor of political spins, the series “Ghost Libraries” alludes to the collapse of intellectual hierarchies, and to the deterioration of accumulated knowledge through the years, that are at risk of disappearing. These “fossilized” paintings act as a site of remembrance, almost physically replacing the void left by the removed bookcase in the domestic sphere.


Drawing on the resemblance between the act of writing and the practice of art-making, and between books and artworks as arenas for contemplation and imagined voyages, these representations suggest the significant role of knowledge and creativity, and their potential to be a leaping point for the viewer/reader into the unknown.


Haylie Roché
I use found objects along with traditional techniques to explore the nature of consumption. My work explores how primal desires and capitalism collide in the virtual sphere. Although pleasure has historically been used as a marketing tactic, the rapid succession of symbols and signals used on the internet is unprecedented.


My body of work celebrates the excess and invites the viewer to bathe in the aftermath of shameless hedonism.


Sherry Ruden
A contemporary approach to traditional materials – Inspired from my life of the East and West, I work exclusively with Chinese Xuan-paper (commonly referred as rice paper), though fragile, is surprisingly versatile. I continuously experiment with different methods – resulting in striking but subtle luminescent outcomes. Unlike Chinese brush and ink painting, where the artwork is mounted afterwards, I reverse the process by manipulating the material, creating intricate shapes, cuts, and drawings based on the paper’s natural grain and texture while adding mixed media elements along the way.


My process is spontaneous, allowing the imagery to evolve along the way. The abstraction of objects opens a seemingly never-ending interpretation of the work. I call it Zì-Rán 自然. In Chinese, this means nature, or the flow of things, ensuring my subject matter will be fluid and unique each time.


Caroline Rust
My portfolio experiments with iterations of garments and painting. I create series of works using textiles metaphorically to contemplate the human condition, reveal qualities of femininity, and explore identity. What emerges is a visual dialogue, evoking human presence, aimed at illuminating vulnerability as a source of strength. To elicit this clothing is deconstructed, then gifted new life when mended, becoming low-relief grounds for paint application.

“Three Laces” is one series of gestural works that join garment remnants from my wardrobe and vintage collection. “The Sound of Indigo 2 & 3” highlight features like lace-edging and seams. Their smallness and familiarity seduce and motivate. “Three Graces”, mythological daughters of Zeus, also provide inspiration.


Historically, they denote a personification of charm, loveliness and creativity. “Three Laces” reinterprets this symbolism in an authentic, modern way – something wounded, reinvented – enabling a broader awareness of the feminine experience.


Brad Silk
Fueled by an interest in psychology, Brad Silk’s work explores the human condition. Their work focusing on humanity, exposing the similarities and differences of individuals’ or groups’ philosophy, behavior, and experiences through figurative landscapes. They pull from collected and personal history, setting the figures in a mist of imagery and symbols folded in from art history, popular culture, and found photographs.


Primarily working in soft, dry pastels on paper, Silk’s work is developed through many layers of colors to fill the form. Like a specter haunting its home long forgotten, these layers wash over the figure, joining history and present-day story.

Joan Sowada
I respond to the times in which we live. Women of Color now can insist on being listened to – see: Stacey Abrams, Barbara Lee, Michelle Obama – but still face enormous resistance.


I use the medium of fabric because it has so many ‘voices’, capable of communicating ideas as diverse as canoes on water, migration, relationships and impermanence. In my abstract pieces such as Women of Color Rise I use a combination of commercial fabrics and painted cotton and linen. Some of the fabrics are frayed and bruised, while others celebrate identity and strength.


Michiko Tanaka
I am fascinated by pop culture and utilize it to explore philosophical quandaries. It is a good way to understand people’s likes and desires. I constantly expose myself to pop culture via social media, entertainment and travel.


Wherever I go I look for trends and icons to play with and use whatever medium best suits what I want to convey.

Bald, Gossip and Wonderful, Terrible together form a triptych depicting Donald Trump’s name in American Sign Language.


Wendy Thon
When I am out in the world, I take photographs of people, animals, architecture, light, colors and patterns. During the creative process I reassemble images to tell a new story; ask different questions.

In Two Women at MOMA, an animated woman talking on the phone is paired with a dynamic sculpture. Do they share similar or different emotions? Are they grief stricken or rapturous?


In Pink Ghat a young man walks out of the picture plane. A commentary about caste and being on the margins of society? A portrait of a bather leaving the holy waters of the Ganges? I seek to draw viewers into the world of each painting.


Heather Tomlinson
My work tends to focus on geometric and/or abstract shapes with texture.


The discovery of overlooked beauty in the passage of years and combination of souls. This piece is an impression of the complicated network of elements found in nature harmoniously pieced together. Serene order is achieved through the layering of yarn of varying colors, widths and textures on fabric utilizing a tufting technique.


Rhonda Urdang
Aemilia Bassano, Shakespeare’s Sister as Othello (1603)
My artwork research is of Portrait of Mariana of Austria by painter Diego Velazquez. His original oil on canvas, 231 cm x 131 cm, © 1652-53 resides in Museo Nacional del Prado.


I’ve re-imagined Emilia Lanier (also Aemilia, 1569-1645) nee Bassano who was an English Renaissance poet. Aemilia was one of the first feminist writers in England and potentially, this Dark Lady was said to be the ghost writer for William Shakespeare, who was said to be illiterate. She may have written The Tragedy of Othello, the Moor of Venice, in 1603.


Winnie van der Rijn
Themes of memory, identity, gender, beauty and power reflect my everyday experiences, interactions and concerns. Every time the world speeds up, I react by slowing down– working more and more with my hands in an attempt to balance the universe.

In the work Corrections, a vintage image has been hand-stitched with plastic surgery markings as suggestions for improvements to her face.

Women have been pressured to conform to societal standards throughout history. Concerned with unrealistic beauty standards and conventional definitions of femininity and sexuality, I push these ideas into the grotesque by applying current ideals to vintage images, drag queen make up onto contemporary images and lipstick advertisements onto images of my son’s lips. Using digital photographic transfer and traditionally female embroidery techniques, I am exposing the absurdity of ‘one-size-fits-all’ beauty paradigms.