This summer, the Bronx Arts Space offered residencies (6 weeks studio space and a $500 stipend) to a group of six artists. At the end of August, they held an exhibit of projects this inaugural group had worked on during their residencies. I had a chance to speak with three of the artists, and I definitely want to continue following their work. Here’s why:
I was very attracted to Alexis White’s book-based work. Against one wall were several works featuring strong geometric patterns with vibrant colors – on closer inspection, these figures were drawn in crayon on the pages of a book. Alexis began this series when her father, who works at a psychiatric facility, came home one day with a psychiatric book about “Children of Color.”
She also created a second collage series using pages from a found book (Les Etoiles by Alfonse Daudet), on which she pasted images cut from magazines.
Melissa Calderón’s embroidery art grabbed my attention immediately – it turns out her grandmother is a seamstress. Melissa employs unconventional surfaces, such as wood, to create her sculptural embroidery pieces. Her work covers a variety of social issues, from the environment to housing.
Against one wall is a series of 8 pieces, which show how the Arctic ice has been melting since 1979 and will continue to shrink through 2035, based on the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment from the National Snow and Ice Data Center.
I especially liked The Bronx Housing Court Monster – the title and the image say it all!
Erica Bailey’s dioramas deal with transience and impermanence. She exhibited two rooms: one a recreation of her childhood room in Shilo Ohio, and the other, her first studio apartment in Harlem. As the artist noted, she wasn’t the first person to live in these spaces, and she won’t be the last. In the “windows” of each room are street scenes from the other location, demonstrating their connection despite their differences.
I’m looking forward to seeing what comes next from these three!