Curated by Korry Fellow Susan Hardesty, and featuring artwork by Alex Churchill, Naomi Clark, Jessica Dowling, Kevin Ford, Brian Kaspr, Sophia Konstantin, Sarah LeMieux, Denise Minnerly, Aisha Nailah, Sain’t Phifer, Lyman Richardson, Carlos RM, Remy Sosa, Rebecca Stern, and Lydia Viscardi.
"Two years ago, I was writing a Curator’s Statement for a Korry Fellowship application. In it, I referenced the 2019 Venice Biennale title, “May You Live In Interesting Times.” Now, I think that title has changed to “We Live in All Too Real Times.” After three years of pandemic living, the world is too much with us. Art is the antidote to living in this “continued state of emergency.” Thinking this way, I began visiting studios to curate an exhibition for The Norwalk Art Space. Meeting artists and exploring their work was compelling - a brilliantly painted house; a village of small, clay dwellings; large, floating, painted swathes of fabric; small, intimate collages; abstract paintings; figurative painting; and more. Connecting such a diverse group of artists into a cohesive show was challenging until I realized all art is an ALTERNATIVE REALITY. The 15 artists selected have imagined, invented, and created their reality, an alternative reality to ours." -- Susan Hardesty
Featuring Korry Fellow Jerri Graham and invited artists Melissa Newman and Tim Holmstrom
“Slowly, the layers of our lives are revealed and once they are, we fully come through,” writes photographer and Korry Fellow Jerri Graham. In the new exhibition “Layers Revealed” at The Norwalk Art Space, Graham invites artists Tim Holmstrom and Melissa Newman to explore the many cycles and layers of humanity, nature, beauty, creation, and decay. “Each frame of the camera," Graham states, "is a fraction of a second of a life that will be lived for a time unknown. Within these fractionated layers, we find our lives and ourselves.” Melissa Newman works in several mediums including clay. Newman writes, "I see artists as 'little gods' who translate the world around them, creating their own worlds in response." Her sculpture, reflecting an immersion in nature, music making, writing and traveling, provokes multiple layers of interpretation and tension. According to Tim Holmstrom, his work “excavates cultural and personal themes, stories, myths or delusions we often recycle and return to …out of habit, comfort, and nostalgia. The repetitions and patterns of decay, rebirth, and the entropy and chaos found in nature - our own nature as humans and artists. Accepting and embracing the beauty, darkness, twists, folds, scars, and revelations borne of that process. It attempts to illustrate that most of all we all labor under a collective delusion that we are evolving, escaping or progressing.”
Featuring Korry Fellow Sarah King
with Maryna Bilak + Judy Glantzman
SARAH KING EXHIBITION:
Exhibition Statement by writer and mother of three
In my recent essay called Making Space, I explain, “Over the years, I have worried that there was no way I could be both a mother and a writer and do either well. But as far back as my memory goes, I wanted all of it - the morning sickness, the indigestion, those stretch marks across my belly - because the end result, if all went as planned, would be a baby. That’s also how I feel about writing; rejection is the morning sickness of the writing process and each response is one step closer to an acceptance.”
Judy Glantzman, Marnya Bilak, and Sarah King’s respective works take us to a place of understanding those moments in time that bring us to a closer sense of acceptance as both mother and artist. Standing in front of their work, we are in a place where we can see ourselves, and our journeys reflected. In this exhibit, you will see, through mediums ranging from painting to sculpture, how these artists articulate the intersectionality of artist and mother. Sarah King, the curator of this exhibition, says, “I wanted to showcase people who are parents who are working in this field who have embraced parenthood and it is their form of empowerment. I felt that these two artists were empowered by parenthood, by their work, by the generational complexities.”
Maryna’s work begs us to dig deep, to search within and understand a particular moment in time. As we grapple with those feelings, of being, of stewing in those moments, we get a glimpse into the world which reminds me that as mothers, and caregivers alike, we have an obligation that never gets time off. We have a mandate to show up as our best selves in every single moment. And yet, I wonder, who will show up with us along the way?
Leaning into life, and leaning on others is part of being in the moment, living through the moments and leaning on a community of people. For me, in Judy Glantzman’s “Dark Prayer,” I come face to face, quite literally, with both the beauty and complexities humanity has to offer. We are transported, it seems, through time and space, and demand that the world take us for who we are at face value, and that we are not alone.
Sarah’s work almost forces us to a standstill as we bear witness to parenting. In her installation, "A collection of things found in the Wash/Suck Eggs,” we can place ourselves in every single scene, and be who we are no matter where we are. When we look at their respective pieces, we are provided with choices, to look back or ahead, to rest or to work, to hold space or hold time, to mother or to create, and every time the answer is this - it can all be done in time. We can be a parent and. We can be an artist and. We can be a witness and. We can be who we are at every twist and turn and.
At the end of my essay, Making Space, I share, “The beauty of writing, the reason I love it, is because it travels life with me, gives me pause, helps me step back from the mess of it all, and puts things into perspective. And while the act of writing is done alone, it cannot be done without help. It is my community that keeps me whole, and supports me to be the best mother and writer I can be,” We celebrate Judy, Maryna, and Sarah and support them as both mothers, and artists. Together, we make up a community of humans, here to bear witness to the lives of these three talented artists in The Longest Shortest Time. Thank you, Judy, Maryna, and Sarah for your wonderful work, for inviting us in, and for being who they are.
Excerpts included above come from Nikkya’s essay Good Mom on Paper which can be found on Amazon.
Nikkya’s memoir, Mama: A Black, Queer Woman’s Journey to Motherhood will be out in 2024 by Algonquin Books.
Featuring Korry Fellow Iyaba Ibo Mandingo, Greg Aimé and Zane St. Juste
WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?:
Peek into the world of poet, painter, performer and teacher, Iyaba Ibo Mandingo and Heshima Moja, Composer, Songwriter, Bassist, Vocalist, Sound Alchemist, Sonic Storyteller, and Producer
“The question, Where Do We Go From Here? arose from a conversation between Heshima and I while working on the beginnings of this performance piece amid the global pandemic. Reflecting on the times, from the 24-month lockdown to the January 6th uprising, the question ‘what happens now?’ naturally surfaced. I immediately felt the duty as an artist to explore that question, knowing that the things I found would be both pessimistic and optimistic, negative and positive, hopeful and dire. As people on this planet, coming out of the collective ‘go to your room’ edict from Mother Nature, I think it’s time for us to begin addressing this question.” Iyaba Ibo Mandingo
We meet these two men in a setting resembling their workspaces. Heshima sits at a piano, composing, and Iyaba is in his space with several canvases, frantically painting. Through this window into their world, a narrative unfolds that reveals visual perceptions and ideas about human identity that are often misguided. The audience is challenged by stories, sonic invocations, and visual narratives (paintings) to see two men on a level beyond their skin and assumed ethnicity. They share their pain, joy, and gripping narrative to reveal the importance and power of vulnerability in a world that has placed clear and deliberate barriers in the path of genuine human interaction and connection. As the piece develops, we learn that they share more in common than meets the eye. Each of them share the legacy of conquistadores, the Caribbean, the language of music and the drumbeat of West Africa.
Featuring New Korry Fellows:
JERRI GRAHAM, SUSAN HARDESTY,
SARAH KING AND IYABA MANDINGO
New Resident Artists:
GREG AIMÉ, LILY MORGAN AND TIARA TRENT
2022-23 GROUP EXHIBITION:
Featuring Resident Artists Francisco Mandujano, Lorena Sferlazza, Remy Sosa + Emily Teall
TNAS INAGURAL JOURNEY:
5/5/2022 - 6/2/2022
Francisco Mandujano, Lorena Sferlazza, Remy Sosa, and Emily Teall began their one-year term as the first Resident Artists of The Norwalk Art Space on April 1, 2021. As we navigated through our first year, they helped us launch our educational program, allowing the vision of our founder, Alexandra Korry, to come to life. Their evolving personal journeys have been evident as they filled our galleries and studios with their unique art. Through our after-school art program, they provided guidance and confidence to over 90 students from Norwalk and surrounding areas. This exhibition celebrates their accomplishments and highlights their growth as “world builders”, painters, mixed-media collage artists, “naturalists”, and teachers during The Norwalk Art Space’s inaugural year.
Francisco Mandujano’s creative avatars and worlds of fantasy have inspired kids from ages one to ninety-one. Known to his 11,000-plus fans on YouTube as Franky D. Crafter, his artwork is based on his desire to facilitate and deepen games of Dungeons and Dragons, empowering participants to broaden their imaginations, and define who they are through the use of avatars within the game. Our Selection Committee did not understand how a D&D player/creator would work, but we were inspired by Francisco’s earnest devotion to the game and to teach, and offered him a Resident Artist position. Our trust paid off. He springboarded off of the game to give his students the opportunity to explore self-empowerment and self-preservation through the creation of fantastical characters, allowing a type of expression and social exploration not normally available to teens. Embracing his cultural and gaming roots, has elevated his work over the last year, and inspired students to look into their backgrounds and celebrate their own creative backstories.
Lorena Sferlazza's work was already exhibited in major galleries around the region when she was selected as a Resident Artist. She continues to excel as Educational Manager at The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art, and her outstanding classroom abilities shone throughout this year. Her extensive knowledge of mediums, primarily acrylic painting, was broken down weekly into a detailed and well-thought-out curriculum that empowered her students with the courage to express who they are technically and emotionally. These curricula have helped define our training and expectations for future Resident Artists. Lorena's mastery of mediums also radiates in her paintings: she has evolved from brick walls and barriers to figures and life, showing tremendous growth, courage and self-reflection during her time with us. This year has allowed her to find her center and express it beautifully through her work.
Remy Sosa's emotionally charged work has always captured our attention because it feels raw, personal, and authentic. Her richly collaged, mixed medium canvasses leave us with hauntingly beautiful images which pierce the psyche. Remy’s fearlessness in her exploratory process allows her to scream out her emotions into artwork that demands attention. She helped her students tap into this same type of deep expression by having them let go in Blind Contour Drawing and then in Collage 101. These two classes pushed her students to stop expecting specific outcomes, allowing them to get lost in the process and mark-making. The students learned that it's not how beautifully rendered a piece can be but, more importantly, how to use the creative process to scream out loud.
Emily Teall's work is hard to miss both in and outside The Norwalk Art Space. Her sanctuary, like Tulip Bulb in the Sculpture Garden, invites viewers in (both physically and emotionally). Her ever-evolving semi-organic sculpture in our front staircase, like the rest of her work, is influenced by the natural cycle of renewal, and brightly announces the promise of things to come while simultaneously hinting at the unpredictable twisting of nature untamed. She has been a constant figure at our events and has fully embraced the knowledge our Korry Fellows had to offer. Emily was a one-on-one instructor before coming to teach our students, and brought her personalized approach to our classrooms, gently and directly mentoring teens through their creative process. Behind her quiet demeanor, her mind is constantly planning ambitious work in steel, wire, charcoal, and paint, all of which she brings to fruition by constantly working in her studio. Without question, she rose to the challenge that The Norwalk Art Space provided and, in exchange, has offered a challenge to future Resident Artists; how will you use your residency?
We opened our doors in the midst of the COVID pandemic, providing a source of hope for our students, our artists, and our community. These four Resident Artists taught completely separate subjects and mediums, but the common thread was always the exploration of self, and the power in finding one's own visual language. Watching students be transformed through the process of art into confident individuals, ready to represent themselves and their creative voices to the world, has been a gift for all of us at The Norwalk Art Space. Thanks to Alexandra Korry's vision, we know that all of our artists, from students to Korry Fellows, will go out stronger into the community, knowing that they have an artistic family that is here to support them. We wish these four Resident Artists all the best in the years to come and hope their year here has given them a step up into a local art scene that, if embraced, can nurture their careers until they are ready to come back as Korry Fellows.
Joseph Fucigna with Beau Bardos, Vincent Dion, Chris Durante, Francisco Mandujano + Margaret Roleke
COLLECTING, INDEXING AND RESHAPING:
3/17/2022 - 4/28/2022
A mingling of six artistic collections and personalities working together in one single space to create a show unlike any seen since The Norwalk Art Space’s opening in June of 2021. Sculptures scattered along the floor, walls lined with unending creations both 2D and 3D, and in the loft, an entire role-playing adventure terrain leading to a multimedia animation video. This is Collecting, Indexing and Reshaping.
Joseph Fucigna, Korry Fellow and curator, is known for his work with industrial materials such as construction fencing, zip-ties, and hoses. Although this may bring a mental image of a construction site, being in front of his pieces is an entirely different story. With his use of bright colors and organic forms, the materials completely diverge from their originally intended purposes to create provocative abstractions. The overlapping and excessive layering of the materials creates a depth of form, such as in his work Veiled Threat 2. The look of draped cloth created by the layering of the fencing gives the piece movement that it doesn’t truly have, whereas the back of the piece is less layered, the zip-ties untrimmed, giving it a hollow, dangerous feel.
With some overlapping ideals and similar material usage, both Vincent Dion and Fucigna use the concept of ‘play’ in order to morph their work into a satisfying end result. There is a whimsy to Dion’s work through those materials that allows for a human connection. Footprints is a sculpture crafted from scavenged fire hoses, hand-dyed clothing, and rope, and comes together in the familiar, yet warped form of a barbell. Although the piece, along with the rest of the collection Soft Gym, is a humorous parody on gyms, the piece poses questions about strength and authority such as, “What constitutes strength?”. The exaggerated movement of the rope creates a flow from one side to the other, and even without that sameness in position, there is a balance at either end created by similarity in color and shape.
Vibrant colors and familiar forms similar to those in Dion’s Footprints, draw people in, although in some cases it can be a false sense of comfort. Margaret Roleke’s Shotgun Home is the familiar form of a house made from a variety of cheerful colors, giving the overall structure the feeling of being approachable. However, upon closer inspection viewers can see that the menagerie of colors is made up entirely of spent shotgun shells, and the interior is littered with caution tape causing the shift from comfort to dread. The vulgarized popularity of gun use paired with the lack of gun control within the United States is something Roleke feels strongly about and brings to her artwork along with other political issues including racism and global warming.
While it took a large collection of shotgun shells for Roleke to create her piece, Chris Durante is the collector of the group. Being a collector is not only a title, but something that Durante takes great pride in and has used to his advantage with his artwork. Taxonomy, the piece on display, is a shelving unit stocked with a collection of found items, manipulated, and repurposed by Durante. In Durante’s own words, he is “intrigued by the idea of how an object becomes stained by the passage of time.” By taking these preexisting materials, now molded into something new, and placing them on a shelf, it poses the question, ‘Why this, why here?’ The viewer begins to create their own stories, or ideas to accompany certain items and give them importance that doesn’t necessarily exist. Along with Taxonomy, Durante is using a wide variety of his drawings to fill the wall behind the unit in what will give the piece the atmosphere of a salon.
Looming above the main floor of the gallery are vast landscapes and extremely detailed figures lining the loft, miniatures normally seen in role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons and Warhammer. Francisco Mandujano is a Resident Artist at The Norwalk Art Space; his pieces are created with the intention of being touched, moved, and played with, encouraging the viewer to come up with their own story. However, it is the cultural aspect of his native Mexico shining through many of his miniatures that bring a certain originality to his work. The multi-layered Quetzalcóatl terrain, for example, is made of vibrant colors and geometric patterning, a call back to the long-standing traditions of Mexican art. Although the beauty of the piece is evident, it is the individual story creation of the viewer that makes the piece unique.
Individual story creation is also a central focus for the final artist, Beau Bardos. Tucked away in what seems like another world, Bardos’s mixed-media animation can be viewed through a small doorway found in the loft. The animation uses stop motion and is made up of Bardos’s drawings, collage work, clay, and other mediums he may stumble upon. While many expect a completed story when watching a screen, the animation has no order or timeline, at least not one that each viewer will see in the same way. Through his non-linear animation, viewers can fabricate their own narrative, much like Francisco does with his role-play terrain.
Collecting, Indexing and Reshaping, the most ambitious show to take over The Norwalk Art Space, does so with these six seemingly divergent artists, woven together through similar ideals, processes, and even materials. However, it is how each artist is able to individualize themselves that creates the buzzing atmosphere throughout the space.
KORRY FELLOW: Joseph Fucigna
Lizzy Rockwell / Friends + Family
A QUILT + ILLUSTRATION EXHIBITION:
2/3/2022 - 3/10/2022
Lizzy Rockwell is an artist who communicates and collaborates. Her illustrations are visual narratives created primarily for children which adorn over 35 picture books, a 28’ long wall in the pediatric waiting room of the Norwalk Community Health Center, and numerous award-winning games produced by the toy company, eeBoo. Lizzy is the author of ten of her picture books, whose texts illuminate the mysteries and logic of the natural world, spark conversations about emotions and personal wellness, and show and tell how to make a quilt with friends. Her most recent titles as author/illustrator are How Do You Feel?, I Love Insects, and The All-Together Quilt.
Lizzy studied fine art and art history at Connecticut College and illustration at the School of Visual Arts. However, most of what Lizzy knows about making books, she learned as a child. Her parents, Anne and Harlow Rockwell made books in their home studios in New York City, and then Connecticut, when Lizzy and her brother and sister were growing up. From her parents, she also learned how to investigate a pond, make a potato print, look at a painting and sew a quilt. Lizzy collaborated as an illustrator on 19 books written by her mother, including Apples and Pumpkins and Hiking Day. Illustrations by Anne Rockwell and abstract woodcuts by Harlow Rockwell are included in this exhibit.
The All-Together Quilt is the winner of the 2021 Connecticut Book Award in the picture book category. This book is Lizzy’s most personal, as it models the people and activities of Peace by Piece: The Norwalk Community Quilt Project. Peace by Piece is an ongoing intergenerational after-school art program that Lizzy conceived and organized in 2008, with start-up funding from a local foundation. Lizzy was inspired to teach quilting to an intergenerational group after reading about the quilts of Gees Bend which were on exhibit at the Whitney Museum in 2002. The bold designs and improvisational methods reminded her of her father’s abstract woodcuts, which were designed in paper collage, as well as some of her favorite modern artists, like Paul Klee and Kurt Schwitters. The Gees Bend quilts created possibilities for intuitive design and collaborative methods which would bring people together, and offer therapeutic benefits for both young and old. Having grown up with a quilting frame in the living room during her adolescence where she stitched with her sister and friends after school, Lizzy thought she could replicate this joyful and calming pastime. The diverse group of Norwalk residents currently ages 8 – 93, meets in the community room of Senior Court Housing, managed by the Norwalk Housing Authority. Together, the Peace by Piece quilters have made art quilts that hang in numerous institutions and libraries in Connecticut. These quilts are designed by Lizzy, and include contributions from others, in the form of drawings on fabric, improvisational patchwork piecing, and hand quilting. Since 2008 thousands of individuals have contributed in some way to these communal works of public art.
Many of these works have been generously loaned to The Norwalk Art Space and are being seen together in one place for the first time. Along with the art quilts, which often communicate specific messages and use typography, like large fabric posters, there are personal artworks, created by the quilters, on display.
The recent Peace by Piece members:
Maria Acosta, Jennifer Arpi, Almina Ball, Kerri Besse, Dot Byrd, Jocelyn Bacila Chara, Ernestine Cobb, Trinity Ebron, Jennifer Garcia, Nicole Garcia, Malissa Grey, Sanaa Jerry, Anna May Jerusavage, America Jiménez, Alana Klinka, Alex Leon, Angie Leon, Ashley Leon, Nadelin Loja, Maurice Montgomery, Doris Moreno, Betty Mungo, Sandra Naraborne, Connor Oatis, Fran Paris, Lindsey Punin, Nelaigedalise Reeves, Shaunessi Reeves, Tylor Reeves, Christine Sainsmyr, Kate Scully, Viola Sears, Joyce Trusty, and Anna Veccia - have contributed to pieces in this exhibit.
Khalaf Jerry was an early member of Peace by Piece. Khalaf is a printmaker, painter, textile and glass artist from Norwalk, CT. He created this black and white abstraction, titled “Journey” specifically for this exhibit.
Denyse Schmidt is an internationally known quilt designer, craftsperson, fabric designer, and author, often referred to as “The Mother of Modern Quilting”. Denyse is a long-time friend to Peace by Piece donating materials, teaching skills, and hosting community quilting bees at her studio at the American Fabrics Building in Bridgeport, CT. On display here is Denyse’s “Hawaiian-Style Appliqué Quilt.”
Anne Rockwell was a children’s book author and illustrator who created 200 books for children, between 1961 and 2018. She wrote and illustrated concept books for the very young, non-fiction science, historical biography, and retellings of fables and mythology from around the world. While she illustrated most of her books, Anne collaborated as an author with many illustrators, including her husband, Harlow Rockwell, and daughter, Lizzy Rockwell.
Harlow Rockwell was an advertising art director, picture book illustrator, and abstract painter, printmaker, and sculptor. He collaborated as an illustrator on dozens of books written by his wife, Anne Rockwell.