Greetings Friends and Family!
We are now moving into late summer and have phased into Session Two. We are pleased to announce and introduce to you our new Artists in Residence. We encourage and thank your support; so check us out and see what our artists are doing at Salem Art Works!
We hope to see you soon!
Sophia Baraschi-Ehrlich is an artist from Chelsea, NYC, focusing on painting, drawing, and graphic design. She recently graduated from Skidmore College in May 2016 with college honors, art honors, and as a member of the National French Honors Society.
At the age of 12, Sophia started taking figure-drawing classes at the New York Art Students’ League under the instruction of painter, Barbara Adrian. She has continued her art practice throughout high school and college and has also taken courses at the New York Studio School. Sophia has shown work at Case Gallery in Saratoga Springs in 2013, Spring Street Gallery in Saratoga Springs in 2015, and her artwork was chosen to represent the Beatlemore Skidmania charity event in November 2015. Her art was most recently exhibited at the Tang Museum in Saratoga Springs in 2016.
“I chose to come to Salem Art Works because the community creates an environment in which artists are encouraged to explore new mediums. Up until this point I have focused mostly on painting and drawing in my artwork but I have always had a strong curiosity of working in three dimensions. My grandfather and mother studied sculpture when they were in school, and people always told me that the way I drew was very sculptural. It wasn't until I took a sculpture class during study abroad in Paris that I realized what I had been missing. Sculpture came more easily to me than painting ever did and the physicality of the solid object freed up my two dimensional work as well. Unfortunately, I was not able to delve deeper into the three dimensional aspect of my art during college which is why I decided to come to SAW. I knew that at SAW I would be able to work more with my painting, but what really drove me to come here was the opportunity that I would have to integrate more sculpture into my art.
As I had thought, the community at SAW has been one that has really inspired me to explore. Since I am fairly new to most sculptural mediums I have had many questions about how to create things. But I have been pleasantly surprised to find that every staff member and resident has been extremely enthusiastic about helping me out - answering questions, demonstrating different methods, etc. At first I was a little shy about my lack of knowledge, but everyone has been so genuinely interested and helpful that they have made me more excited about my ideas! I am very grateful to be surrounded by such a community which fosters curiosity and passion for art - no matter what it may be."
Born and raised in Paris, Laurène Gitton earned a B.A. in Fine Art and contemporary critical studies at Goldsmiths College in London. She has since developed various works around installation, sculptures and video, creating spaces and sets that are meant to be experienced and activated by the viewer. She is interested in the disruption of the gaze, and in the constant viewer's focus adjustment. For the past three years, she has been involved in stage design for theater, and fashion assisting several set designers on major broadway musical shows at the Chatelet Theater in Paris. Currently, she is completing a life long degree in figuring-life-out since 1987.
“I mainly work on installation that can gather any type of sculptures, images and video, but I look forward to playing with new materials here. I am thinking about making small sculptures with ceramics and wax which will eventually come altogether by the end of this session. Salem Art Works was recommended by a friend of mine for its a strong sense of community on every level.
I am very excited this place is so hard-working and insanely human at the same time. We have the freedom to push ideas, make mistakes, and achieve what we can without pressure, but instead, all support from the crew here. I came for the good people, good vibes, and good art.”
Lauren Koch is a world traveler whose roots run deep in the Appalachian foothills of red, Georgia clay. She was homeschooled K-12th grade and graduated cum laude from the University of West Georgia with a Bachelor in Fine Arts in Sculpture and Printmaking, and an Art History minor this past Spring, 2016. Lauren is a sculptor, a printmaker, and a classically trained musician who enjoys songwriting and playing folk instruments. Participating in three study abroad programs at UWG, Lauren visited France, England, Finland, Estonia, Switzerland, and Italy where she first exhibited internationally.
Having a wide spectrum of interests—Lauren is a foundry-rat at heart who loves mold making, pouring molten metal, grinding, chasing, and patination processes. With other interests in textiles, fabrication, metal-smithing, wood working, ceramics, photography, drawing, painting with acrylics, watercolors, and writing. Lauren often incorporates textures and patterns in her work and can knit, crochet, weave, sew, spin yarn, and harvest natural colorants for dyeing. When Lauren is not busy creating artwork, you can find her teaching community art classes and volunteering at sculpture or printmaking events.
“I was searching for residencies to apply to after graduation and several of my professors and a guest artist, Mary Neubauer, recommended I check Salem Art Works out. Having never been to this region before I thought it would be cool. Especially because I enjoy experimenting and trying new things, Salem Art Works has several opportunities for me to do that here. My focus will be working in the foundry, fabrication, and with wood.
My experience so far at Salem Art Works has been a friendly atmosphere and plenty of sharing of ideas and techniques. It's a great experience meeting up at meals to talk together and work through problems. It's like having a big family.”
Havre de Grace, Maryland, is a small town on the Chesapeake Bay where Grant McFarland is from about an hour north of Baltimore. Recently graduating from University of Maryland, College Park in May 2016 with a B.A. Grant has spent the last five years transitioning from a history major, to a graphic designer, to a sculptor. Prior to graduating, he showed at the Department of Art Honors Program and in local galleries, and won first prize in the graduating senior show at Maryland. In the next year he plans to look for opportunities to show his work around Washington D.C. and begin applying for graduate programs.
Primarily using steel and wood, Grant McFarland also experiments with additional materials including concrete and tar paper. Influenced by structural elements in the everyday environment, furniture, functional objects, and architecture often play a geometric role in his work. He continues to use angles and lines that are imitated and repeated within forms.
“Right now, I'm working on a large scale sculpture to install in the sculpture park at Salem Art Works. I'm using wood, steel and concrete to create something in the vein of my existing work, referencing architectural and mechanical structures. I first heard about SAW from some friends at school. So far it's been a great experience, from the people to the facilities to the location.
The community here has to be the best part. Everyone has something to provide, and everyone is required to work. The environment is so laid back and quiet, but so open and creatively nourishing at the same time. You're never lacking a sounding board if you need one.”
Chelsea Thew was born in upstate New York, close to the Canadian border, west of Lake Champlain, and in the backyard of the Adirondack Mountains. The natural wonders that compass the region of scenic sights stimulated her exploration in her youth. Dispersed in the region are also small, isolated towns with farms, empty land, often a relatively small demographic, and many old and dilapidated mining and manufacturing buildings. The prevailing social impact on these communities continues her exploration and influence her sculpture and photography. In 2014, Chelsea earned a B.F.A. from SUNY Plattsburgh concentrating in photography, sculpture, and business.
Chelsea makes images with her camera that reflect the life and continuation of growth, or sometimes the lack thereof in towns that have a history but no present sense of industrialization. Her sculpture functions in a minimalistic style using mediums such as fabricated steel, concrete, and fabric to portray ideas of an interdependent relationship between materials in a precarious nature. She often challenges the viewer's experience with a struggle of balance and compromising support, and tests the typical characteristics and context in which one is used to seeing these mediums.
“I pursued a residency at Salem Art Works in order to facilitate creating a larger than life size sculpture. I'm mostly interested in using the steel and wood shops, but it is a great feeling to know that I potentially can spend time to use any medium from any of the shops. The piece I have begun will incorporate a large, circular and billowy-casted concrete shape that will suspend a steel enclosed hexagon in air. Often times in my work there is an element of the unexpected so I am prepared to change my design as it goes. After installation, I plan to make a series of smaller sculptures and this is when I plan to move away from my comfort zone to be challenged with new materials!
Because most of SAW's accommodations are outdoors, I find myself adapting to a more fundamental way of living - you know, with the basics on my mind: Food, Warmth, Sleep, and Work. Dinners are special about SAW as in any community. But for us, it is a time when everybody comes together to eat warm, delicious food cooked by peers, usually after a long satisfying day of work, and there's this understanding and time for engaging and sharing with people.
Every night I fall asleep under the stars and there is something incredibly peaceful about it - even when the dogs keep me up howling at night; it also forces me to be attuned to the weather so that I am warm and my tent is dry.
Last thing I want to say is how inspiring and good it feels to be part of a such a compassionate, generous, and diligent community. After a day of being here, SAW becomes home."
A sculptor and metalworker from England, United Kingdom, Rachael Barker studied Fine Art Sculpture at Wimbledon College of Art. Since Rachael's graduation in 2008, her concentration has been in researching and making metal. Working full time as a metal workshop technician both at Norwich University of the Arts and most recently at Manchester School of Art has allowed her the opportunity to explore metal casting. Resulting in recently using the medium to produce very small, intricate casts.
Rachael's sculptural practices include the exploration of architectural space and overlooked objects. She transforms and translates space into sculpture enabling a new interpretation or understanding of the space or object often by a shift in scale which enables an interaction on an intimate level. By taking part in the Emerging Artist program at Salem Art Works, she hopes to create new work engaging existing aspects of her practice to relate to the site at SAW.
“I chose to come to Salem Art Works because the residency program looked excellent. Having somewhere to live and work amongst a community of artists at different stages in their career sounded like an exciting opportunity. Whilst at SAW, I want to focus my attention on making sculpture. I recently quit my full time workshop technician job in England in order to pursue more freelance sculptural endeavors. Taking part in the emerging artist program offered here is a chance for me to kick start my new adventure.
I enjoy most the communal aspects about SAW, meeting people from all over the world and getting to see their artwork. The downtime between working is excellent: swimming in the river and enjoying the rural landscape. I am excited to take part in my first iron pour, having cast bronze and aluminum, but never seen a cupola in action before.”
Carole Hallé is a sculptor living and working in Brooklyn.
Born and raised in France, she started her professional career as a dancer.
She then studied drawing and sculpture at the Art Students League of New York and the New York Academy. She has been awarded a Merit Scholarship at The Art Students League of New York, the Nessa Cohen grant for sculptors and print makers, and the Milton and Sally Avery Arts Foundation Grant. She has been selected for a studio residency by the Royal Drawing School at Dumfries House and is currently doing a fellowship at Salem Art Works.
“As my drawings and sculptures kept getting larger and larger, I started entertaining the idea of making outdoor sculpture and came to Salem Art Works to start my first experiment. The body of work I have been making over the past five years explores how organic shapes, abstract but reminiscent of the human body, can evoke our sense of vulnerability, alienation, engulfment and other human predicaments. In this piece I am making here, I want to explore the relationship of the sculpture with its environment. With this focus in mind, once finished and installed at the edge of the woods, I want to experiment with growing moss over the sculpture to blend it with its surroundings.
I am most impressed by the energy of this place. People are friendly, serious and motivated. Coming from the city, I so appreciate the open spaces such as the studios, communal kitchen, the hill and fields.”
Alison Causer is a New York City based artist originally from Toledo, Ohio. Her work is currently focused on the investigation of visual spaces between observation and imagination while drawing from nature and Baroque paintings. Her work has been exhibited within New York City and throughout the U.S. Currently Alison conducts lectures and workshops for the New York City Park Service and Art Student League of New York. She graduated from The Columbus College of Art and Design (CCAD) in 2005, where she received a Bachelors of Fine Arts. Shortly after moving to Brooklyn, New York she enrolled at The Art Students League of New York where she continues her studies and studio practice.
“During my time at Salem Art Works I'll be focusing on developing my visual language and taking the time to really absorb nature. I was randomly introduced to SAW from an artist friend, Carole Hallé. We drove together from the city and as soon as we turned into the driveway I knew I wanted to spend time here. My focus is to paint large scale (and as much as possible) and observe nature; living in the New York City I don't have the opportunity to do either of these things. I might explore with some paper clay, lime plaster and oil paint - we'll see.
The energy at SAW is great. Everyone is focused on art making and serious about their investigation and processes. I also love being around sculptures. I guess I'm drawn to their bad-ass-I-can-build-anything-maker-quality in them. It's great! There is something magical about making art in nature, and the landscape here is killer.”
Alden grew up in a small town called New Hope in Virginia. He's currently attending Bridgewater College going for his B.A. in both art and applied physics. As soon as Alden learned to weld at the age of 13, he hasn't stopped making sculpture since. Influenced by collage and dabbling in all art mediums, Alden focuses on using found metal, particularly farming machinery. He prefers a surrealistic style and attempts to recreate machines in his own sculptures. Alden's art has been juried in shows at Bridgewater College and Art Fields in South Carolina, to name a few.
“While here at Salem Art Works, I'm going to be working on my senior thesis project for my B.A. My thesis is based around combining my engineering degree with art and creating sculptures that make paintings. I usually make metal sculptures so the combination of mechanization and paint art is a new idea to me. It will be a fun learning experience. I traveled here with my good friend, Alex Soler, who told me about SAW and I thought it would be a great way to stay focused and work on my art.
My favorite part of SAW is the commune-style of living. It reminds me of working at a summer camp and the great memories that are made having a small, self-sufficient community."
Janice Sloane, is a mixed media artist who lives and works in New York City. Her work explores themes of the body, it’s impermanence, plastic surgery, ritual objects and the process of healing. She draws inspiration from medical photographs, painting and african sculpture.
In her work, we often see the head-holder of the spirit, soul and mind. It is a fascination and she explores this part of the body and it’s complexities through ink drawings, photography, and sculpture, using skin - like pieces of vinyl halloween masks, hair, fake fur, pins, glitter and plastic bags.
Janice has exhibited at Radiator Gallery, SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW, The Parlour Bushwick, Scope Art Fair, The Last Brucennial, The Nightclub, Miami, Newman Popiashvilli Gallery, Galeria La Refaccionaria, Mexico DF, X Teresa Actual, Mexico DF, El Centro de La Imagen, Mexico DF, White Box , Neue Galerie Graz. DF, ZKM Center for Art and Media Technology, Karlsruhe, Germany, Tel Aviv Artist Studio Gallery, DESTE Foundation, Athens, Greece, Museo de Arte Carillo Gil Mexico DF, Museo Universitario del Chopo Mexico DF, Brooklyn Museum among other spaces.
Her work has been reviewed in selected publications such as Sensitive Skin Magazine, Beautiful Decay, Mileno Supplemento Cultural, Mexico DF, The Herald, Mexico DF, Art New England, NY Times, Ethik & Unterrich, El Periodico del Arte, Harpers Bazaar, Mexico and Uno Mas Uno, Mexico. She has participated in the Salem2Salem artist residency at the Schloss Salem in Salem, Germany and Salem Art Works in Salem, NY. Her works are in several private collections in New York and Mexico, the C-Collection in Vaduz, Lichtenstein, and the Neue Galerie Graz, Austria.
“My work deals with themes which include skin, plastic surgery and the impermanence of the body. All my materials came in my suitcase... Glitter - which is now all over everyone at SAW, India ink and acrylic paint. I've been drawing and making prints of heads. I want them to look like they just happened instead of labored. I work quickly and edit fast as I go a long.
I came to Salem Art Works for the first time as part of the Salem2Salem artist exchange residency program. I immediately felt at home. I was impressed with their warmth, willingness and support to make your work happen. Since that year I keep coming back to this beautiful place. The people I see here feel like family. It's a great place where I can detox my mind from the city, have some peace and focus on my work. I am making works on paper - easily portable to bring back on the bus.”
K. Alex Soler
Born in rural Virginia, Alex Soler has been doodling since she was able to hold a pen. She attended Bridgewater College in Virginia and received a B.A. in art. Post graduation she worked at the Equestrian facility at Bridgewater for two years before attending University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she recently graduated in 2016. Her work seeks to recreate rare and momentary exchanges using delicate found steel and recovered objects. Her sculptural drawings are inspired by almost twenty years of working and interacting with horses and the land they live on. After her time at Salem Art Works, Alex plans to return to teach introduction to sculpture and intro to digital media at NCAT.
“After having the pleasure of learning from Anthony Cafritz while I was working on my MFA at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, I was excited to experience the place he helped to shape. The space, people, and facilities were a major attraction for me having just graduated. While I have been here, I have focused on pushing my use of materials and experimenting with new processes under the knowledgeable and varied guidance of the various excellent staff members. With little emphasis on the artwork produced, I am allowing myself to simply experience and react intuitively and to continue to load my skills bank.
SAW has incredible natural views, motivated staff, and an emphasis on community that is difficult to find elsewhere. I am most looking forward to applying again to return for a longer stay. I want to keep the momentum going and hope a longer residency can allow for a more developed exploration and reflection on my creative work."
Upstate Air 4x10 Artists
Samantha Combs has always expressed herself through all kinds of artistic forms. Her childhood memories growing up in a quaint neighborhood in Queensbury, NY, include building cabin structures out of scrap wood, and holding theatrical plays and cooking shows including edible and non edible ingredients found in a backyard. Painting is Samantha's tool: to decompress, find well being, and to self-express. She graduated magna cum laude in 2014 from SUNY Potsdam with a B.F.A. in painting and a B.A. in psychology.
Abstract expressionism and performance based art are wherein her research, interests, and influences lie. Engaging more gestural and intuitive brushwork has become her artistic philosophy. In order to express and engage her psychological interests, she often uses her body as a function in performance art.
Recent shows include but are not limited to: SUNY Abstract Show, NYC; Art Attack, SUNY Potsdam, Putnam Den, Saratoga Springs, and a solo exhibition at the Fulton Street Art Gallery in Troy, NY. Samantha is an art enrichment teacher at a nearby Elementary school where she implements project-based learning with students.
“I will be continuing to work on a series of mixed media paintings that focus on abstract portraiture during my time at Salem Art Works. SAW has spacious grounds and many great facilities of which I plan to use to experiment with new mediums and concepts.
I can already tell from my first night here that all the artists are loving and supportive, making it much easier to experiment. I plan on using the music studio space to sing and play music. I would also like to take advantage of SAW's grounds to put my performance ideas into action.”
Born in 1989, Lindsay Keys was raised by her mother in rural Salem, NY (pop. 1000), where making art became her escape from the mundane. Following her first high school drawing and painting course, and with support of her teacher, she committed to pursuing art at the college level.
Despite not having formal training, she knew she was falling for photography. She enrolled at Wesleyan University in Middletown, CT and spent the majority of her undergraduate career in the darkroom. As she developed her own practice, Lindsay also worked as the lab assistant.
Upon graduating in 2011, she moved to New York City to begin freelancing in photography and film production. Her various gigs have included assisting photographers, producing music videos and narrative films, working in editorial, and creating original still and motion content for clients.
Most recently she traveled with and photographed Bernie Sanders' campaign during the 2016 primary season. This experience has opened a door to the world of creative activism, which she will carry on through the creation of her first social impact documentary about Lyme disease.
“I'm splitting my time between taking photographs, mostly portraits of fellow artists, and revisiting the work I made while here in 2014. I was strictly shooting on film then, and am still editing the negative scans. It's a very long process! I'm hoping to tie up some loose ends so I can begin to shift my focus toward making new work.
As someone who grew up in Salem, coming to Salem Art Works is a unique opportunity for me to check in with my roots. The facilities and lifestyle provide the time and space for reflection and focus, which is hard to find in my daily life. SAW brings artists together from around the country and world, and establishes relationships that last beyond the residency."
Rebecca Macomber was born and raised in central Connecticut. She was highly influenced and encouraged by both parents: her mother, a fiber artist, and father, a potter. She fell in love with the medium of glass in high school and followed her passion throughout college at Rochester Institute of Technology, learning and absorbing as much as possible in those four short years.
Since graduation, Rebecca has worked for a couple different artists, and is inspired to make her own work and participate in craft shows when she can. Unfortunately, being a glass artist is difficult to make into a full time career, so she balances a couple careers; her passion to be a glass artist and an ultrasound technician.
“I'm going to be finishing up a sculpture that I started many moons ago. Other than that I'm not too sure. I have some ideas I want to work out.
I'm very excited to work on what I want for an extended amount of time. To just be an artist. I have a "regular job" but this is what I would rather be doing with my life.”
Nick is an artist living and working in Glens Falls, NY. He lives in the part of town where he grew up, on the East End, characterized by its blue collar restaurants and remains of what was once a booming industry town. A stretch of abandoned train track runs through his neighborhood along the old warehouses that he explored once as a kid. He remembers the grit, rust, and miscellaneous debris like a yellow pharmacy bag crumpled and caked with dirt.
From a young age, Nick had an inherent pull towards art and an intuitive understanding of how it ties into the unconscious and reflects spirituality. Post high school graduation is when Nick started creating his work seriously. In order to support his art habits, Nick has worked in various positions in restaurant kitchens over the years to pay for residencies and materials. His years of hard work have helped to shape his approach to being an artist into a more holistic perspective when making a painting, sculpture, or when using other processes. After Salem, Nick will be attending an art program at SUNY Purchase.
“I have come to Salem working on paintings and smaller sculpture. I have no specific project, but will instead be working and observing to see what comes out.
I've been coming to SAW for around four years and what I love most about this place, besides it being an incredible setting to focus intensely on your work, is the people. Over the years I've made great friends who have become like a second family to me.”
Published by Chelsea Thew
Photographs by Chelsea Thew