Chris Rose’s 2nd session in 2018 was entitled ‘Tales of the Unexpected’ and took place November 9th - 11th. The session considered the ways in which experience enters our present moment - that mysterious human sense of the 'persistence of the present moment' which is a feature of our conscious life, of our imagination and dreams.
This Fall we had the great honor of contributing to the ‘Future Unknown’ Chancellor’s Summit held at The Central Academy of Fine Arts (CAFA) in Beijing, China. The project grew from careful consideration of the mission and vision of CAFA and the principles driving the “Future Unknown” initiative to move art and innovation forward by building linkages to many educational and cultural locations around the globe.
It was lightly snowing with a small bonfire outside. Through the window an ambient light was coming out, and the visitors slowly took their seats towards a little chest by the window. Three people holding papers perched on the chest in turn, and started to recite their writings calmly. On October 26th, 2018, we had a full house for an evening of readings by Laurin DeChae, Adam Tedesco, and Rebecca Wolff. Within each voice, poetry, prose and essay were shared, and the visitors traveled in the stories of sounds.
Laurin DeChae is a PhD candidate in Composition & Rhetoric at SUNY Albany, acting as the editor-in-chief for Barzakh Magazine. She received her MFA in poetry from the University of New Orleans. Her work appears or is forthcoming in Harpur Palate, Animal Literary, Pretty Owl Poetry and elsewhere.
Adam Tedesco is an editor of REALITY BEACH, a journal of new poetics. His recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Laurel Review, Gramma Weekly, Prelude, Pouch, Powderkeg, Fanzine, Fence, and elsewhere. His video work has been exhibited at MoMA PS1 among other venues. He is the author of several chapbooks, most recently ABLAZA (Lithic Press, 2017), as well as the forthcoming titles Misrule (Usrus Americanus Press, 2019), and Mary Oliver (Lithic Press, 2019).
Rebecca Wolff is the author of four books of poems, one novel, and numerous pieces of nonfiction prose. She is the editor of Fence and the publisher of the Constant Critic. She lives in Hudson, NY, and is currently seeking meaningful employment . . .
What does make your body move? An willful body movement comes from the complex of sensory; feeling of security, mindful guidance, relaxation, freedom, scent, music, space, etc. One leads to another added up and stacked in sequence, the body gradually absorbs the environment and starts to communicate with the surrounding. Jillian invited us to a journey to her tiny world, On a Bed of Spiderweb, on the 20th October, 2018. Her world was full of sensory without any regulations or constraints. The space was transformed into any possibility of experience with ongoing sound and scent which let people release their tension of time, space and themselves; and people started to move.
Jillian Goodwin is a trained creative arts therapist, installation artist, and classically trained ballet dancer. She co-created the first mental health program at The League’s Education and Treatment Center’s LAND Gallery, a studio and gallery space for adults with developmental delays; and she has worked in the inpatient acute psychiatric unit at NYU’s Langone Medical Center.
Photos by Natasha Holmes
On October 16th SUNY Albany celebrated the 25th anniversary of the College of Arts and Sciences. Arts Letters & Numbers director David Gersten was invited to offer a keynote address entitled ‘Developing New Ways of Knowing: Education, Art, Space and Place.
Director David Gersten visited the University at Albany's College of Arts and Sciences to celebrate its 25th Anniversary celebration event on Tuesday, October 16. He sat down for a talk with Writers Institute Director Paul Grondahl.
Artists visit Arts Letters & Numbers for various reasons and one of them would be its own placeness. Distant from repetitive and regulated city life, Averill Park is a place of discovery, founding and observation. Surrounded by nature of woods, lake and hill, artists often encounter the unexpected, recognize fresh and get inspired from them. As leaves changed in colors covering the grounds, Wolfgang and Steven shared their site-specific artworks on October the 6th 2018. Extended from their professional fields, Wolfgang and Steven introduced and improvised what they have discovered around the site fused with their own views and interpretations.
Wolfgang Kahler apprenticed in Architecture, with a BA in design and sustainability from The Evergreen State College, Wolfgang Kahler is a designer and craftsperson with a love of experimentation. He is excited by unconventional materials and practices, by the combination of old and new, by acts of service, by collaboration, and by all opportunities for learning and play.
Steven Bellosguardo fuses contemporary techniques with a traditional approach to sculpture’s original subject, the human figure. Utilizing mediums associated with modernist sculpture, figures are rendered from flat sketches on steel, cut out and assembled, creating an interplay between two- and three-dimensional elements.
Various encounters between national and international artists who are currently on residency at Arts Letters and Numbers have been mixing mediums and creating works which question the environment and population of Averill Park and its surrounding region.
On September 2nd Arts Letters and Numbers invited the community for some light refreshments whist we celebrating the works which had been produced over the past 2 and a half weeks by the current artist in residence.
Alice Shockey, Brooklyn, NY.
“My creative process integrates my experience here at Arts Letters & Numbers with my sensory experience as I become fully present within this space and in my body. I find visual representation both using a process of body mapping and collecting natural found objects and working directly with the immediate environment of Arts Letters & Numbers”
Matthew Bacher, San Diego, CA.
What can our relationships with nature tell us about ourselves? Artist Matthew Bacher asks these questions as he examines the connections and disconnections that we share with the natural world. "Sometimes its good to remember that we're still animals."
Tilly Davey, Canberra, Australia.
Tilly Davey's work questions the vulnerability of humanity and the daily struggles which the world at large faces and has done so since time memorable.Directing and tutoring a number of different community art programs throughout Canberra,Australia has a large impact on the works that Tilly produces.
Christopher Raia, NJ.
Christopher Raia is a multidisciplinary artist and illustrator based in New Jersey. In 2018, he received his BA in Interactive Multimedia at the College of New Jersey. His practice mixes both physical and digital means of making in order to create installations that transform spaces and provoke conversation.
This year brought with it our 3rd annual Festival, where we once again celebrated and shared the works created over the course of our 2018 Summer Workshop, Hinges, Mirrors & Eclipses. With 45 participants, representing an incredible range of fields and nationalities, it was the largest workshop in the history of Arts Letters & Numbers, resulting in a truly memorable festival.
Hinges, Mirrors & Eclipses is grounded in the idea that the spatial, poetic and material imaginations provide a unique means of registering and creating transformation, of engaging the world and making a contribution. Working from the principle that our capacity to act in the world is rooted in our capacity to recognize and comprehend transformation, the workshop covers a large arc of content, asking questions of our world, our disciplines and our humanity.
Our Artists in Residence invited the public for an evening of performances on June 28th, 2018. In a very short time, works with great depth had been growing out of collaborative and solo interventions. The journey and the live the residency program has taken on is mind-blowing, and the evening with Lu Heintz, Erika Morillo, Gordon H. Williams, Ursula Bustillos Daza & Marshall Jones was a truly unique experience.
‘With Holdings’ was a two person performance by Lu Heintz and Erika Morillo. Gordon H. Williams guided the audience to create a soundscape by exploring the second law of thermodynamics (the total entropy of an isolated system can never decrease over time). Marshall Jones accompanied tunes to Ursula Bustillos Daza’s photography constellation of Bolivian culture.
Alex was or first month long day residence. Everyday she commuted from Troy, to fully embrace herself in the creation of her series of paintings. The last day of her residency she gave a talk on her work. She shared her insights of working with the balance between trauma and humor, how her art involves a high level of personal exposure while she at the same time maintains a filter of ambiguity. Her portraits, large scale, detailed, full of life and hardship, of herself and her family members. The talk continued into a great audience discussion around color, personalities, poetry, exposure and life.
Alex the Grave is an American painter and poet living and working in Troy, New York. They’ve received a BA in English and a MA in Fine Arts, both at University at Albany, SUNY.
Their work mainly explores themes of mental illness, invisible disability, personal relationships, trauma, dark and dry humor, and the idea of a melodramatic truth. It is a therapeutic self exposure. Heavily inspired by comic books, zines and items such as handmade signs or diaries, Alex seeks to combine these aesthetics and simultaneously enlarge and expose specific moments and feelings in a physical form.
Though Arts Letters & Numbers is still a young organization, our partnering organizations, such as the Art Center of the Capital Region have had a crucial role in the regional art scene for a long time. Their Fence Show, now in its 53rd year, is a member show, which originally was exhibited on the iron fence surrounding Washington Park in Troy, the original location of the Arts Center. These days the artwork is displayed salon style (floor-to-ceiling) in their galleries, and all levels of skill and ability are represented, from novice to professional.
Each year, a juror is invited to choose artwork for the Fence Select, an exhibition curated from the works in the fence salon. This year, the Fence Select exhibition was be juried by David Gersten. Together with Frida Foberg and Chris Rose they identified approximately 50 pieces that became the Fence Select, which were on display July - August, 2018.
In the blossoming summer days our amazing group of artists in residence, Jenny Zander, Dan Thorpe, Michelle Wan Lok Chan, Augustine Cordero & Betsey Gravatt, invited the community to share their work. Whether they had been at Arts Letters & Numbers for months, or for just a few days, the urgency of sharing work with the community was very present. Working closely next to each other sometimes results in beautifully unexpected collaborations - some of these were shared through performances and visual arts during the evening of May 25th, 2018.
Performance and Body Art Installation
Among the shadows we shed our false skins, revealing our true selves. Through the movement and masking of body, this performance explores a piece of one’s real persona. In and out of light, alive with color.
Contact Improv and Body Art
In the blossoming summer days our amazing group of artists in residence Augustine Cordero, Betsey Gravatt, Jenny Zander, Dan Thorpe & Michelle Wan Lok Chan, invited the community to share their work. Whether they had been at Arts Letters & Numbers for months, or for just a few days, the urgency of sharing work with the community was very present. Working closely next to each other sometimes results in beautifully unexpected collaborations - some of these were shared through performances and visual arts during the evening of May 25th, 2018.
"My work references late 80s/early 90s nostalgia. Specifically, themes from popular culture. Questioing masculinity and personal security from a mixed boy's prespective of this time. My process is primarily intuitive. Working from memory only to arrive at a point that I feel is balanced."
"I use an alphabet of bright colors and shapes to create objects that are reminiscent of 90's toys and cartoons. I arrange my pieces and their components until I have created a piece that reminds me of happy memories from my childhood."
The house, the grounds and the studios was on May 17th, 2018 filled up by spoken words, dance, painted fabrics, drying clothes, folder paper, honeycomb, a porn shop and trees, all works created by our Artists in Residence: Anna Blair, Dan Thorpe, Santana Dardot, Michelle Wan Lok Chan, Joel Cox & Katrine Anne Rose
Notes Toward A Subjective History of Honey | Anna Kate Blair
At Arts, Letters & Numbers, Anna has been working on a piece of writing inspired by a bag of honeycomb found in the closet. This writing, presented as fragmented forms that follow the shards of honeycomb, will be presented in an installation that combines text with other organic and inorganic materials, looking at mythologies of honey alongside personal memories traced associatively. This writing looks at memory as a kind of honey, exploring stickiness and the strangeness of preservation.
XXX Neon Sign | Dan Thorpe
XXX Neon Sign is a cooked ride through Australian heterosexuality, as viewed via the unforgiving gaze of the porno-shop worker. Based on James Andre's eponymous epic poem, set in Brisbane's red-light district, musician/composer Dan Thorpe reflects on the way masculinity and heterosexuality have shaped his own desires, and sense of his own body.
Extending the knowledge-of-the-body II | Santana Dardot
This work approaches the relationship between the familiar and the forces of the outside world.
Clothes and textiles that once covered and protected us, in direct contact with our sensible inner world, are disposed and exposed in public spaces, drying for a new course of practice and potency.
Embedded with the memories of the effects of the living world on our equally alive body, they undress with longing another scene over the one that already existed.
Trees | Michelle Wan Lok Chan
A man is born gentle and weak.
At his death he is hard and stiff.
Green plants are tender and filled with sap.
At their death they are withered and dry.
Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death.
The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life.
- Lao Tzu
Over the years we have been fortunate to experience the transformative work of AHS Theater Ensemble and NCBI, bringing students stories, experiences and observations to the stage. The production of 2018, Blaq Boi is a truly deeply moving, pure and honest student written performance about the young black male experiences in this country today.
On Friday April 27th, designer and artist, in residence, Joyce Watkins King opened up her studio, showing works in progress of her touring exhibition Fast Fashion Fiasco. We truly wished her work around fabric - clothing - fashion, could have been created inside our old cotton mill. Joyce gracefully made the best of the situation, and in the House on the Hill (previously the cotton mill owners house) arranged her fabric and design studio (think lots and lots of denim), in which she worked on during her 4 weeks residency.
In Joyces work she strives to re-use thread, fabric and findings whenever possible, in opposition to the escalating trend of cheap fast fashion creation and consumption, with little regard for its consequences for growers, laborers, and our environment.
By the end of her stay she probably had the best knowledge of where to source used fabrics in the area, and she has been very supported by the community, engaging in her works.
On April 6th, 2018, visual artist and performer eDuard Helmbold invited the community into his studio at the House on the Hill, where he had spent the last three weeks as artist in residence. Opening his studio was part of his final installation/sculpture/performance of this residency:
“For the duration of the residency I set the task of [mis]reading 15 chapters of the Michael Craig Martin’s text: On Being an Artist (Art Books Publishing, 2015). These mis-readings involved searching for insights and reflections on art history and practice relating to the past and present. Each day’s reading resulted in a conceptual practice that directed my Actions for the day. Sometimes these actions came as a result of direct quotes, other times it was through decontextualizing and twisting words by placing nonsensical notions together, and using the Studio to bridge the gaps. These Actions took the form of drawing, sculpture, performance and experimentation.
The 11 Actions (or parts thereof) that are presented are therefore both works in/of progress and works in/of process:
Process that allowed for a practice to emerge
Process that affirmed this practice
Process that questioned this practice
Process that opened new avenues
Process that created space to be an artist
Action 11 the final action of this residency is Acknowledgement: As the community that creates space around the space for Arts Letters and Numbers to thrive you are invited into your/OUR space. I invite you, not to a mere “show and tell”, but to participate in the last Action of my residency; an Action that materializes the people who, through creating space, now being IN the space – influenced my practice irreversibly.”
As the audience were invited to participate in eDuard's work, the studio that had been his space for the last three weeks now seamlessly became a space for everyone. We thank eDuard for coming all the way from Australia to immerse himself in his artistic practice and in our community. We also want to thank Natalie Dietterich and Dan Thorpe who amazingly rounded off the event with performing each their pieces on violin and piano.
With the third in our new Session series held in March 2018, Attunement, Alberto Pérez-Gómez took particpants on an in-depth journey through his writings on attunement, love, and performance in relation to the ethics of architecture.