La Femme du Chien

Featured artists

Group of women on a bridge in France

Bay College announces the opening of the exhibition, La Femme du Chien, in the Besse Gallery. Kristine Granger, the curator of the exhibition was an artist-in-residence at Chateau d’Orquevaux in Orquevaux France, January 2020. “After spending a month in rural France with the other artists, I knew that a very special bond had been made and that I wanted to highlight the artwork of these very talented women.” The exhibition includes the artwork of the women that were artists-in-residence at the same time as Granger. It was also the first time in the history of the artist residency that all of the artists-in-residence were women. The exhibition includes painting, drawing, photography, video, fabric/textile and installation art.

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Aarushi Gurnani

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Biography

Aarushi Gurnani is a multimedia artist currently living in India. With a philosophy rooted in the importance of time and space, dematerialization and transience; she explores materials across video, painting and conceptual installations.

Having grown up on a farm with nature in her multi-hued splendour - constantly changing, growing, evolving, magical; she seeks out the quality of impermanence in life and in the materials, she works with. Her work embraces several mediums and seeks to highlight concepts of olfaction, minimalism and spatial tension to inform the senses.

Central themes to her research and investigation also include ideas of ephemerality, journey, the invisible and the immaterial. To rationalize the inevitable nature of temporariness, she questions the relevance of olfaction in the visual contemporary art world. Material complicity in a process-based practice is crucial to her work. She exploits camphor as a medium in different ways till it sublimates and disappears.

Artist Statement

Through my practice l examine the liminal, intimate and evanescent nature of camphor in relation to its smell, and the inability of a smell to be contained.

Camphor (Kapoor) is a white, flammable, strong aromatic terpenoid obtained from the wood of the camphor laurel tree largely found throughout Asia. Relying on the property of camphor to sublimate, the ephemeral sculptures convey concepts of impermanence and the implication of the olfactory sense in contemporary art. Expanding on my research on dematerialization; this work takes the form of topological-geometric sculptures that crystallize and eventually disappear.  ‘Invisible’ components of smell and heat form the crux of the work.

In covid era, where “loss of smell” is one of the first symptoms of the virus, and where our lives are majorly reduced to our screens(indoors), we rely heavily on our vision. In an already visually dominated contemporary art world, experiencing olfaction and the absence of olfaction has become more interesting to me. In the process of documenting a predominantly ”smelly” material, my videos take a more commemorative place with the title-

WHAT IS NOT SMELLING IS NOT UNSMELLING.

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Alyse Dietel

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Biography

My name is Alyse, and I am a self-taught artist from San Jose, California. I have always loved to draw, but have only recently begun to pursue a full-time career in art. I am also a rock climber and lover of the outdoors, and my passion for nature and wildlife has been the main source of inspiration for my drawings. Because of rock climbing I have been to and seen many wild places that few have experienced, and in my art, I try to convey the sense of awe and wonder I feel when experiencing a new landscape or seeing a wild animal. The outdoors and art became linked permanently for me in September of 2012, when I fell 80 feet off a cliff in a hiking accident. I broke my spine in several places, shattered my pelvis, and collapsed a lung among other injuries, and was consequently wheelchair-bound and told I would never walk again. For someone as active as me, this was devastating and an intensely difficult time in many ways. Because hiking and climbing were out of reach, I clung to art, previously only an infrequent hobby, and began developing my passion for drawing with an intensity that I never had before. So, although I couldn’t move my legs and the mountains were far away, I lived vicariously through illustrations of untamed wilderness and wildlife. And as much as my art allowed me to drift away from the immobilized world I was in, it also fueled a fire in me to walk among the mountains once more. Now eight years after my accident I am a full-time artist, and hike and climb as often as I draw.

I have never taken a class and am entirely self-taught and finding my own artistic style has been a lifelong journey and is continuously developing. My goal as an artist is to travel the world and create art in exotic and unique locations while drawing attention to the need to conserve and protect our natural environment.

- Alyse Dietel

Artist Statement

We are all born with an innate and insatiable curiosity about the world around us. As we grow older, we are distracted by adult things and problems, and most of us forget to be curious. We stop looking for fairies in the garden, or dragon scales in the rocks. We forget how to look.

It’s difficult to respect and admire something you have no connection with. It’s harder still to connect with something we have forgotten how to properly look at and be curious about.

Our Earth needs us. It is dying, and in pain, and it needs us. We need to rekindle the feelings of awe and respect that our natural world deserves. The connection to our Earth that we once shared with wild flora and fauna needs to be re-established. We need to remember curiosity. We need to remember how to look. My art is a tool for that remembrance, that re-learning. Wild animals and native plants hide throughout my illustrations, waiting for discovery. They may not be the fairies and wood nymphs of childhood fantasy, but they’re something better. They’re here, now, and are fantastical and mystical in their own right. They are hidden treasures, beautiful gifts from the Earth itself. There are wonders all around us, in the natural world. My illustrations are not so different from reality. And if you look hard enough, you will find not only the beauty of natural, wildlife, but also love. Love for each life, love for each petal and stone. Love for this beautiful natural world we are all a part of.

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Anastasia La Fey

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Biography

" ...nature has endowed us with one skin too few...a fully sentient being should wear its nervous system externally." - J.G.Ballard

Anastasia La Fey born 1971, Adelaide, Australia currently resides and works in regional Victoria, Australia. She is a self-taught multi-disciplinary artist working across realms of textile artistry, inhabitable sculpture, tactile, ephemeral and environmental installation and sculpture and collaborative multi-form works. Integral to her practice is a foundation philosophy of action-based craftsmanship and material mastery coupled with the enhanced possibilities that come from cross disciplinary collaborative practice. Central themes to her work and investigation include concepts of inhabitation, isolation, transmutation and relationship to self and environment. Spatial disquiet, bodily distortion and ephemerality are also key elements. She is particularly interested in employing the deep connections of the human psyche to material and touch from multiple perspectives: phenomenological, historical and ritual, as well as greater considerations of the environments surrounding body and inhabited form - not only reflecting self as other, discordant to its surrounds, but increasingly investigating broader global social and environmental fears - both personal and political. Her solo and collaborative works have been exhibited both nationally and internationally (including VIVID Festival Sydney, the Hong Kong Design Fair, 14th Biennale De Lyon, Singapore Design Centre, Melbourne Design Week, Melbourne Fashion Weeks) is featured in international art and design publications and she has recently been named as a finalist for the 2021 Victorian Premiers Design Award.

Artist Statement #1

ISOLATIONS: THREE (RED ROPE SERIES)

“[The] simple act of tying a knot is an adventure in unlimited space... an excursion that is limited only by the scope of our own imagery and the length of the rope makers coil” - Clifford Ashley Days after her return to Australia, and just over a month since she created the first of her “red rope” series whilst on residency in France, the WHO declared a global pandemic and the Australian government first introduced some of the harshest Covid-19 restrictions enacted worldwide.

Under these new strict and enforceable directives of social isolation, physical distancing and mobility restriction, Anastasia La Fey, alongside collaborators, cinematographer Lucy Pijnenburg and sound artist Michele Vescio, began an experimental collaborative development in isolation. Expanding upon the conceptual framework begun on residency in France, Anastasia and her collaborators undertook material, sonic and visual experiments in isolation- each exploring ideas of human-environment “embodied networks, physical, personal, emotional and tactile absence and isolation (both actual and perceived) and developed their material and conceptual possibilities through this strange new lens of Covid-19 regulations and their implications. Anastasia’s material experimentation, THREE (RED ROPE SERIES) was born from this exploration and is accompanied by the collaborative video experimentation

Artist Statement #2

LATITUDE LONGITUDE: STRANGE TREES

“We’re all - trees, humans, insects, birds, bacteria - pluralities. Life is embodied network. These living networks are not places of omnibenevolent Oneness. Instead, they are where ecological and evolutionary tensions between cooperation and conflict are negotiated and resolved. These struggles often resolve not in the evolution of stronger, more disconnected selves but in the dissolution of the self into relationship.” - David George Haskell

LATITUDE LONGITUDE: STRANGE TREES was an (im)permanent installation of two textile works part of a series of five experimental environment-responsive sculptural installations created during my one-month residency at Chateau Orquevaux, France. - the works were installed as ephemeral sculptural installations and left to slowly decay, be altered and ultimately be reclaimed by the environment that surrounds them.

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Benedicte Caneill

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Biography

Benedicte Caneill is an award-winning artist who creates original dyed and printed fabrics that she uses to make one of a kind fine art pieces. Born in Paris and raised in Toulouse, France – she came to New York in 1981 and after a career in biology became a full-time studio artist. She has always been involved with art in many different forms: painting, music and the performing arts of acting and singing, including learning the traditional danced theater of Kathakali in Kerala, India. She always felt a passion for beauty and a need to create with her hands.

Using her dyed, painted and printed fabrics she is creating a large body of work exploring line, color and movement. Whether small or large-scale, it falls in two seemingly opposite categories: one figurative, the other one abstract. Both express her multiple interests and experiences: her international travels, her life in France, interactions with different cultures, and her career as a biology teacher in international schools.

Her work has appeared in exhibits nationally, including in NYC galleries (Terrain Gallery, Phoenix Gallery) and internationally, and has been juried into Quilt National, Quilt Visions, Art Quilt Elements and Craftforms. She has won numerous awards, including First Places, Judge’s Choice and SAQA Cream Award. She lives and maintains a studio in the New York area.

Artist Statement

I like working with textiles because of their tactile quality and the texture that can be obtained through various manipulations. I start with plain white or black fabric and using surface design techniques (dyeing, painting, monoprinting, silk-screening or direct printing) build up layers and create patterns. My visual vocabulary consists of a variety of abstract visual images (dots, lines, circles) and layered painted surfaces. I cut up and reassemble the pieces, sometimes using a grid as my guide. The final composition develops in the process, with each piece unique, some more organic, others more architectural. I am inspired by natural structures both on large scale or cellular level and man-made structures. I very often walk-in nature or in New York City with a camera capturing patterns, repetition and the rhythm of life in the city. Consequently, there is an interplay of the vertical and horizontal in my work.

I enjoy working in Series. For example, in the Units series a geometric structure is the basic framework for the composition. The geometric units establish the structure for line and color to interact. Unity arises from repetition with variation of design and shapes. The pieces are then finished through intensive machine and hand stitching, adding a final layer of texture and depth.

My pieces are not literal but are meant to convey an impression through the various patterns, colors and block structures. I look to evoke movement and rhythm within a unified composition, excitement and calm at once. My work is precise and structured yet aspires towards freedom. My intention is to create unique images that celebrate the beauty and wonder of the world and engage the viewer in an explorative journey on the surface.

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Cathleen Ficht

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Biography

Cathleen Ficht was born in New York City and raised on Long Island. She focuses on drawing and printmaking, mainly photolithography, stone lithography, and wood engraving. She received her BFA in Printmaking with a minor in illustration in 2011 at the University of Hartford in West Hartford, Connecticut, and received her MFA in Printmaking in 2014 at Savannah College of Art and Design in Atlanta, GA. She also completed a one-month residency at Kala Art Institute in Berkeley, CA in 2018 and a one-month residency to Chateau d’Orquevaux in Orquevaux, France in January 2020, and awarded The Denis Diderot [A-i-R] Grant. Her work has appeared in many juried and group exhibitions in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, California, Wisconsin, Georgia, Colorado, Texas, Rhode Island, Italy, as well as online exhibitions. Her work mainly focuses on capturing the often-unrealized beauty in common objects and scenes at certain moments in time to hold on to and create experiences within a piece of artwork. Cathleen is currently living and working in New York City.

Artist Statement

“So, time is not just a negative space, a passive intermission to be overcome. It is a productive or formative force in itself.” –Jennifer L. Roberts My work challenges the eye to open wider, eliciting the inquisitive gaze. This creates a unique experience by using the movement and life within a disturbed surface. Water is a major theme in my work because of its unpredictable and quixotic nature. I take the time to replicate by drawing a photograph that I take creating a variety of drawings and print media. Through meticulous work, the relationships between the reference photographs and drawings are revealed yet evolved. It is not merely about the accurate representation, but what is happening within and beyond that surface. The process requires intricate examination to uncover new lines, shapes, and images creating new orders and relationships. By recreating textures and lines, a more obscured surface emerges inviting the viewer to take a closer look and get lost in its complexities. This intimacy gives greater depth to the piece and creates a more haptic quality, the tactility and its effect on the observer. With each viewing it is easy to become lost within each piece and uncover new scenes, images, or figures. There is always something new to be uncovered through my process. After recreating such detail-oriented images reducing recognizable imagery your mind creates its own images and stories for itself. A second body of work focuses on the unpredictability of time. It explores our desire to try and freeze one moment and hold onto it whether it’s good or bad. Hundreds of recently discovered letters written during WWII between my grandparents inspired this work. The letters reveal their great love for each other during this dangerous time. My grandfather was sent to Europe in 1944 shortly after their marriage, and the only means of communication available was their letters. Time was volatile during the war, but the one constant was the love and dedication they had for each other. My work strives to capture something that is in flux, the often-unrealized beauty in common objects at a certain moment in time. Capturing an image of uncontrollable forces in nature or time reveals an unknown beauty.

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Cecelia Ivy Price

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Biography

Cecelia Ivy Price was born in Buffalo in 1986. She began to study painting at first at the nearby Niagara County Community College and, after moving to Fredonia in 2013, she deepened her studies in drawing and painting at SUNY Fredonia State with Cuban-American painter Alberto Rey. In particular she devoted herself to gothic and figurative painting.

In 2015 after graduating with honours (cum laude) from the SUNY Fredonia, she began to work with adults with disabilities as well as the elderly to create artworks as an Art Facilitator.

Solo Exhibitions: Negative Space Gallery, Cleveland, OH, 2019, Dark Delights, Faux Pas Gallery, Rochelle, IL, 2018, Recherche’, Octagon Gallery, Westfield, NY 2018, Eclectic Selection, Sensory Winery, Ripley, NY 2016, Transitions, Pulp 716, Lockport, NY 2015, Dangerous, State University of New York, Fredonia Rockefeller Arts Center, 2014, Rock For Hope, Lockport, NY 2008.

She has also traveled to the UK to lecture about her work at the Skeletons, Stories and Social Bodies Exhibit (2018).

Her paintings have graced the book covers of writer Jesse Pholman’s Protostar: An Automatic Apocalypse Vol 2, Pillars of the Kingdom Volume Three: A Decadent Demi-Goddess, & The Bartenders of the Nexus Tavern.

More info at ceceliaivy.com

Artist Statement

Enfleshment

The first self-portrait in this series began at an Artist Residency in January 2020 Chateau Orquevaux, France. Although I have previously worked with lace and was interested in the juxtaposition of its delicate nature as well as the strength it breeds, during the residency the feminine power of women reverberated with 11 female artists.

I decided that I would make a portrait with a lace overlay which utilizes my skin as a landscape meanwhile feminizing it and softening it edges.

As I am working on these drawings, I am starting to think more about what femineity means to me after a doctor suggested a potential procedure to reduce my breasts. Am I still female without my breasts? Will I still feel sexy? Will it change who I am? What if it doesn’t help with the main and I mutilated my body for nothing? I have so many thoughts now... The female form has been no stranger to bias and exploitation and how I create, shape, engage, view, celebrate, mine is more important to me than ever before.

I am challenged to think more carefully about society's idea of male / female and who it was created to cater to, versus what in the end will make me happy.

Simone de Beauvoir said, “one is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.”

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Gabrielle Reeves

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Biography

Gabrielle Reeves is an American visual artist who lives and works in Istanbul Turkey. She has exhibited her work in a number of solo and 2 person exhibitions including at the Nicolaysen Art Museum in Casper WY, the Global Village Museum in Fort Collins CO, the Guray Museum in Cappadocia Turkey and Istanbul Concept Gallery in Istanbul Turkey. Her work has also been exhibited in numerous group shows including Kaybolan Suretler / Lost Forms at Istanbul Concept Gallery, Sehir Ezmesi / City Paste: an exhibition reflecting on change in Istanbul at Circuit Istanbul and Plastic Sanatlar / Plastic Arts exhibited at the Silahtar Caravansaria in Malatya Turkey. Her work is in several permanent collections including the Nicolaysen Art Museum, The Guray Museum in Cappadocia and the University of Wyoming Campus in Laramie WY. Gabrielle is currently working as a freelance artist and art instructor.

Artist Statement

My work explores reciprocal interactions between myself and my shifting environments. I am interested in sense of self, personal identity, how we affect the world around us, and how we too are transformed by our surroundings.

As a painter who works primarily in oil, watercolor, acrylic and found materials, I spend significant time concentrating on involved projects in my studio. Yet much of my work has grown out of a love for on location drawing and collaboration. Plein air sketching and life drawing are, and have always been, vital for me to maintain necessary drawing skills and gestural energy. Therefore, my work continuously maintains a balance between studio projects and on location drawing.

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Kathleen Hurley Liao

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Biography

Kathleen Hurley Liao is a mixed media abstract artist who incorporates automatism and expressionism in her work. A graduate of Barnard College, Columbia University with a degree in Anthropology, the marks, forms, and rhythms of her art offer points of connection for viewers of diverse perspectives and cultures. She is particularly inspired by the harmonies, dissonances and resolutions of jazz, and themes of existentialist literature.

Hurley Liao is the recipient of the “Outstanding West Windsor Artist'' award from the West Windsor Arts Council, and two “Best in Show, Printmaking” awards from the Trenton City Museum. In 2020, she spent a month in France as a Resident Artist at Chateau D'Orquevaux. Her artwork may be found in the James E. Lewis Museum (collection of Lawrence Hilton) as well as in private collections in a wide range of locales, which include New York City, Chile, and France. She maintains a studio in Hightstown, NJ.

Artist Statement

There is rhythm in construction, deconstruction, and reconstruction. I feel it while creating my work, as I move my hand, even my whole body, back and forth in front of a canvas. I hear music in the tearing of paper and the scraping of paint; my studio is a private theatre in which I can dance and interact with materials until something new is formed. I begin each work in a spontaneous, “automatic” way, without conscious intention. I then respond to my initial marks with more consideration to composition and color, and to whether any emerging forms ask for further definition. Discovering what works, and what doesn’t, is a very physical process. Does the piece require additions or subtractions? This is where deconstruction and reconstruction are involved, and the evidence of this process becomes part of the work.

The three pieces in this exhibit, “Elder,” “Escape Route “and “Shelter,” exemplify this process, while retaining the energy of its initial automatism. The works are a meeting of the subconscious with the conscious, and I invite viewers to connect with the art through their own individual perspectives.

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Leslie Johnston

Leslie Johnston headshot

Biography

Growing up with the Rocky Mountains as her backyard, Leslie Johnston developed an affinity for the beauty of nature and wild landscapes. She has spent time in nature observing wildlife and the colors in a world that would call her again and again to seek out natural wonders.  Leslie's reference points for her paintings and installations include scientific training and travels ranging from the deserts of Mongolia to the Tibetan Plateau to the rainforests of southeast Asia and Latin America and ending in her own backyard. Leslie is devoting her time to expanding her creative work to include art activism full time in the pursuit of promoting awareness, provoking dialogue and inspiring action to protect endangered species and wild landscapes.

Artist Statement

I derive inspiration for making art from my professional and personal journeys. As I travel in both worlds, I seek to influence human actions so biodiversity and wild landscapes are protected and conserved.  Painting gives me the creative freedom to develop a visual vocabulary relating to nature and its organic structures while allowing the individual viewer to find their own message and draw their own conclusions.

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 Serena Merry

Serena smiling

Biography

Serena is a singer songwriter and photographer who loves learning about the world. With a passion for performing arts, she has journeyed through life experimenting with acting, singing and song writing for enjoyment and self-healing. Regularly found moving about nature, Serena finds solace in capturing beauty through a digital lens and finds photographing women to be a great source of strength.

She currently resides in the beachy suburbs of Victoria, Australia and spends her weekdays teaching little ones at primary school.

Artist Statement

Composed and filmed during the Chateau Orquevaux residency, this recording conveys the long-awaited feelings of visiting Paris and seeing the Eiffel Tower for the first time. Longing to be embraced in the world-renowned City of Love whilst other lovers took to the stage; juxtaposed with a past relationship that once held similar promise.

In the city of love, I found my heart, I found my home.

Artist Statement - Photography

Titled: flow

These photographs capture the true essence of eight women honouring their intuitive flow. The energy experienced as I weaved in and out of these studios was mystical. Each space nurtured a woman with a powerful story.

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Sophia Strawser

Sophia Strawser smiling

Biography

Sophia Strawser is a Brooklyn based writer and comedian originally hailing from Lancaster, PA. She has been a writer for magazines such as W42ST Magazine in Manhattan. She has also performed stand-up all-around NYC in clubs such as Greenwich Village Comedy Club and Gotham Comedy Club. Her self-produced web series, Tipping Point, released its second season last year and was an official selection in Hell’s Kitchen Film Festival.

Artist Statement

I’ve lived through insecurities, and self-doubt so that others can live in freedom. I use poetry, scripts, and jokes to bring light to the beauty standards we must alter, fix, and heal in order to allow women to live to their full potential. I believe laughter brings healing and my hope is to help people laugh about the pain society has forced upon us. Beauty is in everyone, and everything and I am blessed to sit back and find it.

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