ArtYard is pleased to present Invisible, an exhibition featuring the work of twelve artists whose practices examine omitted histories, imperceptible forces, and unspoken narratives which render that which is apparent, misleading, or incomplete. In illuminating invisible forms of labor, unspoken emotional states, and unnoticed effects of human presence, the exhibition examines what the author Svetlana Alexievich calls “the missing history — the invisible imprint of our stay on Earth and in time.”
Monica Banks’ malevolent English porcelain cakes spin ominously on revolving cake stands in ArtYard’s Very Small Gallery, hidden apertures in the gallery walls viewable through small peepholes. Banks’ inedible confections give form to the chasm between material abundance and scarcity and offer a Let-Them-Eat-Cake parable for the nameless anxieties of the preceding year. Banks’ work can be found in the permanent collections of the Parrish Art Museum, the Islip Art Museum, and the University Museum for Contemporary Arts at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
Willie Cole’s Beauties are portraits of five beloved women from Cole’s personal history cast as weathered ironing boards whose shapes evoke iconic maps of slave-ship holds.
Cole’s work mines the meanings of quotidian domestic tools such as irons and hoses in sculpture and prints that reference African iconography and masks. His work has been acquired and exhibited by MoMA, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Whitney Museum of American Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, National Gallery of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis Institute of Arts, and numerous others. Another work of Cole’s, a chandelier constructed of water bottles, hangs over ArtYard’s theater and is part of ArtYard’s permanent collection.
Phebe Macrae Corcoran is an interdisciplinary artist from Tivoli, NY, working and living in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Engaging mostly with textiles, video, text, and found images, her work serves as a tool and/or ritual to help connect the artist and the viewer with other worlds and timelines. Macrae Corcoran is dedicated to revering the materials she uses, treating them as sensitive and responsive elements. Her scapulars, blankets, cards, quilts, gloves, and videos examine states of grief and absence in the wake of the untimely death of a friend and fellow artist.
Vasiliki Katsarou is a poet and filmmaker whose Haiku-length disappearing poems are dispensed from ten gumball machines installed in the exhibition. Printed on water-soluble paper, the poems may be treasured and retained or dropped in a water-filled receptacle to disappear.
Katsarou was born in Massachusetts and educated at Harvard College, the University of Paris-Sorbonne, and Boston University. She is a filmmaker and Pushcart Prize-nominated poet whose first collection, Memento Tsunami, was published in 2011. She is the co-editor of two contemporary poetry anthologies: Eating Her Wedding Dress: A Collection of Clothing Poems and Dark as a Hazel Eye: Coffee & Chocolate Poems, all by Ragged Sky Press, Princeton, NJ.
sTo Len is an interdisciplinary artist whose work has centered on collaborations with abused landscapes that have included printmaking polluted waterways, 3D scanning FreshKills landfill, recycling waste into art materials, and performing at Superfund sites. sTo Len is based in Queens, NY, with familial roots in Vietnam and Virginia, and his work incorporates these bonds by connecting issues of their history, environment, traditions, and politics. His installation in Invisible resulted from a residency at ArtYard and a series of mudlarking expeditions to forage for riverborn refuse, including one organized by the Delaware River Greenway Partnership.
Kaitlin Pomerantz’s Trodden series captures the imprint of human shoes on fallen magnolia petals at the start of the COVID pandemic.
Pomerantz writes, “I had noticed a trodden-on magnolia petal, and admired the markings as well as the intense symbolism: a delicate piece of nature, carelessly marred by human exigency, transit, branding. I noticed, days later, the great bloom of a magnolia tree near my house, also precariously close to a hospital and COVID tent. Fully gloved and masked, I scarcely dared touch a thing outside of my home, yet, these freshly fallen petals promised a sort of safety if I could catch them upon first terrestrial contact. So the small collection began, for the duration of the bloom, and beginning of the quarantine. I would gently carry the petals home, and then crush them beneath my feet: a rumination on the toll of transit, the brevity of bloom, the proximity of mortality, the impossibility of harmless passage.”
Pomerantz (she, they) is an interdisciplinary artist, writer, and educator in Philadelphia (Lenapehoking). In 2018 Pomerantz received the Young Friends of the Preservation Alliance Award from the Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia, Yvonne M. Kelly Memorial Prize for Mixed Media from the Woodmere Art Museum, and an artist grant from the Faculty Venture Fund at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Pomerantz teaches art studio, seminar, and writing courses as an adjunct at the University of Pennsylvania, Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Moore College of Art & Design, and is currently working toward a master’s degree in education at Harvard University Graduate School of Education. Pomerantz lectures widely on their arts practice and research topics including land art and ecology, public art and monuments, and pedagogy/arts education.
Kelly Popoff’s mysterious paintings withhold something primal from view. They have what the curator and collector W.M. Hunt refers to as a prerequisite for a powerful image — the right combination of “balance and secrets.”
Says Popoff, the work is perhaps an “instinctive response to try to make sense of our current culture by looking back. Or maybe, to find connections that may explain why our history seems so present and unresolved.”
Popoff’s creative life has been most influenced, she says, by “the injustices that I felt in the two areas that dominated during my childhood: my home life and my Catholic school education. The social dynamics of these two realms overlap in ways that fuel my desire to bring to light abuses of power. My work addresses social concerns, often about children, animals, and others in powerless positions that are susceptible to manipulation.”
Recurring images of houses and clothing allow Popoff to address issues of being human without the presence of a specific person. “They are intimate representations of those that I know and those that I do not,” she says. “They are sacred spaces of joy and pain.”
Popoff lives and works in Greenfield, MA. She has exhibited in international group shows. She received the Mass Cultural Council 2020 Artist Fellowship award, completed a residency at Vermont Studio Center in 2019, and was named a Millay Colony Fellow in 2018.
Cuban artist Sandra Ramos’ dystopian classroom references rarely taught historical narratives and invisible educators and incorporates the work of local elementary school students who contributed drawings to the installation. Ramos has exhibited widely, from her native Cuba to the 55th Venice Biennale, Rubin Museum of Art in New York, and London Print Studio to the Xin Dong Cheng Space for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China. Her works are represented in the collections of major museums, including MoMA; Museum of Fine Art, Boston; and Fuchū Art Museum in Tokyo, Japan.
Gabrielle Senza’s Archive of Invisible Things is an interactive installation from Senza’s Invisibility Lab, a creative research platform focused on the cross-cultural study and multimedia presentation of the seen and unseen. Visitors are invited to record their own experiences of invisibility, and will have the opportunity to attend IN/VISIBILITY: A Lab Report, a live performance that weaves together stories, dreams, fears, and visions collected through deep listening and intimate exchanges with participants. Senza collects narratives and traces of lived experience while sitting in airports, cafes, flea markets, and Zoom rooms. She then translates these data points into an immersive multimedia performance that incorporates spoken word, movement, video, light, and sound, making visible the universal desire for connectedness, respect, safety, and empowerment.
Pavel Urkiza, an internationally known musician, composer, producer, and arranger, composed the soundtrack for Sandra Ramos’ installation, a percussive piece evoking the sharp sounds of chalk on a chalkboard. Urkiza is an artist with a deep connection to world musical cultures drawing from his Cuban heritage and 22 years of musical experience in the Iberian Peninsula and the Canary Islands. Urkiza has published more than 40 compositions, and his most recent monumental production is the music documentary, La Ruta de las Almas (The Road of the Souls), a film illustrating the ancestral connections of music from the Ibero-American region.
Kawita Vatanajyankur is a Thailand-based video artist whose cheerful, beguiling videos belie unsettling truths about the invisible labor of women. In 2015 she was a finalist in the Jaguar Asia Pacific Tech Art Prize and presented in the Thailand Eye exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery. Her work has been featured in the Islands in the Stream exhibition in Venice alongside the 57th Venice Biennale, the Asia Triennial of Performing Arts at the Melbourne Arts Centre, the Asian Art Biennial Taiwan, and the Bangkok Art Biennale. Vatanajyankur held her largest museum show in 2019 at the Albright Knox Art Gallery museum in Buffalo, NY. Vatanajyankur’s work is held at the National Collection of Thailand and in museum collections, including Singapore Art Museum, Dunedin Public Art Gallery, Maiiam Contemporary Art Museum, MOCA Museum of Contemporary Art in Bangkok, as well as university and private collections in Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe, and America.
Montenegrin artist Natalija Vujošević is the founder and director of the Institute of Contemporary Art in Montenegro, which is dedicated to contemporary art theory, education, research, and archives, and where she has curated exhibitions that include Make Me a Coffee, Make Me a Sandwich; Missing Stories. Forced Labor Under Nazi Occupation. An Artistic Approach; and Future Ecologies: Future in Debris. Her artistic practice is built from experiences of life in the ruins of society, on the sidelines of global capitalism, and neo-colonial politics, and the occupation of natural resources on the Adriatic coast. Vujošević’s many-armed dress installation might be a uniform for a nurse in a COVID ward, apparel for an artist attending to political, humanitarian, and environmental crises, or an everyday garment for a Goddess of Compassion.
Jill Kearney, curator, is the founder and executive director of ArtYard in Frenchtown, NJ. Kearney is a producer of communal spectacles, a curator, a former journalist, and a film executive. She graduated from Harvard with a degree in English and creative writing, worked in Hollywood as a creative executive at Francis Coppola’s Zoetrope Studios, served as West Coast editor of American Film and Premiere Magazine, and later ran the Tribeca Film Center-based offices of Los Angeles film producer Art Linson. Before launching ArtYard, she produced theater, dance, and literary events in a cavernous unheated barn in Bucks County, PA, where she developed a deep appreciation for the practice of art as a collaborative enterprise.