Spring Intern Exhibition: WhatknotMay 31, 2016
The spring 2016 intern exhibition, Whatknot, is the result of an interweaving of four emerging artists—Mary Gordon, Allora McCullough, Elizabeth Melnyczuk, and Kieran Riley Abbott—who arrived at WSW from different backgrounds, but who will leave with new ties, both artistically and personally. These newfound connections are evident in their exhibition.
All four artists found themselves taking advantage of the peripatetic nature of WSW’s studios, where they could explore printmaking, papermaking, ceramics, fiber, and artists’ books, combining these media in revelatory ways.
The exhibition has just come down from the WSW gallery walls, so we wanted to hear about their new work, what their internship experience has meant to them, and where they’re going from here.
Mary Gordon made her return to WSW this January after a stint as our Summer Intern in 2014; this time she joined us as a Studio Intern. While she typically works in monotype, collage, and painting, she took a liking to silkscreen during her time here. She created an accordion book of haikus “inspired by certain characteristic things I’ve noticed about WSW: the colossal cactus in the corner of the etching room, daily potluck lunches, Anne Atwood’s rainbow bookshelf.” The book includes eight-color silkscreen illustrations of the haikus.
Of her recent shift into silkscreen, she says, “Having come from a more traditional printmaking and painting background, it’s gratifying to see the flat, graphic look that silkscreen allows.” This summer, Mary will assist and take classes at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts, and later will participate in the Tallgrass artist’s residency in the Flint Hills in Kansas. She will be a resident artist at Vermont Studio Center in January 2017.
Chili Bowl Intern, Allora McCullough, uses her larger sculptural work to explore the existence of the human soul in both religious and scientific contexts. The pieces on display in Whatknot are representative of her functional ceramic work, which takes many different forms. “My primary practice is as a ceramic sculptor, so this work has helped me gain a different set of skills,” she said of her time creating hundreds of bowls for WSW’s largest fundraiser of the year. “I am so thankful to have had this opportunity to really hone in on my production skills and feel more confident heading into the next stage.” Allora has since relocated to a cherry tree farm outside of Saratoga Springs, where she and her partner are converting a barn into personal studio space, and eventually, into an artist residency program.
Kieran Riley Abbott, a Minneapolis, MN native, has been our Non-Profit Management Intern since January. Her work, based in screenprinting but recently branching out into more sculptural pieces, is a result of her interest in the history of science and in the potential of optical illusion and the weird space between two and three dimensions. During her time at WSW, she was intrigued by the indigo harvested from the ArtFarm, and started creating nets and freeform knots for dip-dyeing.
The shift from printmaking to textiles was unexpected but produced interesting results. “Working with string and rope allows for a certain freedom and spontaneity; I can knot and unknot the pieces endlessly, and I don’t have to determine a size before I begin.” Kieran will return to Cape Cod this summer to work as Printmaking Studio Manager at Truro Center for the Arts at Castle Hill.
Elizabeth (Liz) Melnyczuk, who hails from Long Island, NY, joined WSW as a Studio Intern after graduating from SUNY New Paltz in 2015. Her work is grounded in longing for place and a wistful ambivalence towards home. “I’m living in an inbetween these days, neither here nor there, knowing that my time in a specific place will come to an end and that I will be itinerant in the near future.” Using nearly every printmaking technique available, she combines nautical symbols with images of houses from her past to evoke feelings of transience.
Her work in this exhibition includes an installation of small pinned pieces, a CMYK silkscreen print depicting her childhood summer home, and etchings of sailor knots printed on delicate handmade paper. This fall, Liz will attend the Tamarind Institute of Lithography in Albuquerque, NM for their prestigious master printer program.
Liz said it best when she said that her experience at WSW “has been one full of hard work and long lasting friendships. I feel so incredibly lucky to have met the variety of people I have in my time here, and, in particular, my fellow interns. Our shared experiences here have me feeling like we’ll be friends for years to come.” While we’ll miss having these four lovely ladies around WSW, we look forward to seeing their future endeavors – no doubt they’ll be fantastic!