July 4th celebrates the signing of the Declaration of Independence. The month of July is Artist Recognition Month. In honor of Independence and creativity, we bring you SOLDIERS PERIOD, a short film by Marcia Rock and Patricia Stotter and some work of four visual artists: Donna Faranda, Elisa Pritzker, Jennifer Cadoff, and Jared Hunter.
My art work represents the tension which exists between the real and the fantastic, between the dream state and mundane reality. Inspired by Japanese wood block prints and pre-Raphaelite paintings, I utilize contemporary methods of painting using a computer program as a means of creating art. Working in a pointillist style I am able to depict imagery as in a genre painting to create dream-like portraits. Born out of mythic tales, my art traverses the realms of desires, fantasies, and myths, while maintaining a playful innocence, reflecting back on the female psyche. I like to employ elements of collage in my paintings which help me conjure an image comprised of a mixture of fantasy, mood and symbolism, blended together in a variety of ways to create my own world.
Donna holds a Masters of Fine Arts from Pratt Institute in painting and printmaking.
Jared Hunter, Tatoo and Multi-Media Artist, and his Crew
We gathered to make communal art. We gathered to breathe together. To protest. To Mourn. For Tone: for whom, it was ultimately too much.
Looking Back, Looking Forward - The month of August is National Immunization Month. In honor of National Immunization, we bring you some work of five visual artists: Rachel & Mark Berghash, Adam Niklewicz, Marjorie Conn, and Ocean Morisset.
(Rachel) My poems narrow the gap between something unknown and dark and a dawning of light within me.
(Mark) Creating art is a must for me. I create art for what I value and not for what others value. Good for the soul.
Rachel Berghash, CSW, was born in Jerusalem. She has published a memoir, Half the House, My Life In and Out of Jerusalem, Sunstone Press. Her poetry and poetry translations have appeared in numerous literary magazines. In 2009 her poetry was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in poetry. Her book, “Psyche, Soul, and Spirit: Interdisciplinary Essays,” with co-author Katherine Jillson, has been published by WIPF & STOCK, Publishers.
Mark Berghash is known for his conceptual portraiture, Jews and Germans, Relationship Portraits, I’s Closed I’s Open to mention a few. In addition to his portrait work, Berghash has done projects that range from street photography, landscapes, Segmented Nudes and Woven Panoramas. Relationship Portrait is presently in an exhibition entitled RELATIVE RELATIONS at the HELLER MUSEUM, Hebrew Union College Museum in NYC. His photographic works can be found in the permanent collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Jewish Museum, California Museum of Photography, International Center of Photography, Museum of Modern Art and many others.
This street performance celebrates the brave people at the front lines of the COVID-19 epidemic in the US: the healthcare personnel, the members of vulnerable communities that include undocumented aliens, the workers deemed essential. Many of them are of Mexican ancestry, and they bring along the spirit of vitality, resourcefulness and bravery.
In LA PIÑATA OF 2020, a trio of lucha libre fighters wages war on the coronavirus. As the virus (represented here by a 4x4x4-foot sculpture) gets destroyed, it releases wildflower seeds that are embedded in the sculpture. The grassy circle, where all this is staged, will, with time, be enriched by blossoming wildflowers.
The mask-clad Van Rose Drive team were flanked by a mariachi band. The live upbeat rendition of Cielito Lindo sealed the festive nature of the performance.
Adam Niklewicz earned his BFA in graphic communications from Washington University in St. Louis and his MFA in sculpture from State University of New York at Purchase (2006).
His work has been featured and discussed in ARTnews, Art New England, Aesthetica, CNN Style, The New York Times, Sculpture Magazine, Modern Painters Magazine, The Huffington Post, and the Nation, among others. In Poland, he has been featured in Artpunkt, Exit, Format Obieg and Szum magazines.
He has shown at such venues as Real Art Ways, The New Britain Museum of American Art, The Stamford Museum, Grounds for Sculpture, Black & White Gallery, FiveMyles, Slag Gallery, EBK Gallery, Hudson Valley MOCA, Galerie fur Landschaftskunst (Hamburg, Germany), Gallery of Contemporary Art (Opole, Poland), FWD: Gallery (Poznań, Poland), Zacheta (Warsaw, Poland), Arte Laguna Prize 2014 / the Arsenale (Venice, Italy), Art-Zavod Platforma / Gogolfest (Kiev, Ukraine), JUMP Gallery (Poltava, Ukraine), and York Art Gallery (York, UK).
Marjorie Conn (Actor/Playwright/Storyteller/Ventriloquist) made her acting debut with the late, great Ethyl Eichelberger as his leading man, playing Aegisthus to his Klytemnestra with her lover, the late, incomparable Katy Dierlam as Electra. She was given an award by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force for her contributions to theatre in Provincetown, MA. Marjorie is most known for her portrayal of Lizzie Borden (ax murderess) and Lorena Hickok (Eleanor Roosevelt's lover). These plays, which she wrote, are published in LOST LESBIAN LIVES. She founded the Provincetown Fringe Festival in 1994, which relocated to Asbury Park, NJ in 2007. One of her stories is scheduled for publication in WMN zine: Show Me What You Got at the end of May. Currently she is a full-time New Yorker living in Hell's Kitchen with a plethora of rescue animals.
PART I - TWO PANDEMICS
by Photographer Ocean Morisset
We are fighting two pandemics simultaneously: Coronavirus and Racism. The risk we take out in the streets now, fighting for justice is worth the consequences we face. White allies understand that this fight is not about black vs. white, it’s about everyone vs. racists. They have chosen to shed the cloak of comfortability, to join Black people and affirm BLACK LIVES DO MATTER! Black people, who always have to edit and adjust themselves in white spaces for others, have never known this comfort.
When coronavirus reached our land back in March and totally disrupted our lives, I set out to make some pictures on the subject while home on Family Leave, caring for my mom-in-law. After nearly two months, I had to return to my hospital job in New York City, and as such, my documentation of Coronavirus would now focus on NYC. On the subways and the streets, I documented life during the pandemic. My images are almost always candid as I prefer to capture an authentic moment in time, as opposed to one that is presented to me. Knowing how coronavirus has ravaged the black community, my lens was mostly focused on the everyday aspect of what I saw within the community.
Then George Floyd was murdered on a video that shook me to my core. I actually didn’t watch the video until about five days later. I was infuriated, and when he called out “MAMA! MAMA!”, to his mother who had died two years earlier, my heart just broke; for him, for us, for all of us who need for the loving comfort only a mother knows how to provide, in times of duress.
I had been documenting protests since 1999, when 23 year-old Amadou Diallo, a Guinean immigrant, was shot forty-one times, and killed by four New York City Police Department plain-clothed officers. It’s also the year, I was first introduced to photography. Since then, my camera has become my tool of expression, and my choice of weapon for fighting injustice.
Documenting protests in both New York City and Peekskill has been challenging in many ways due to social distancing guidelines and having to wear a mask, especially during these warmer days. However, I could be no where else but in the here and now, lending my voice, and my eye, to the epic time in history.
Ocean Morisset is a self-taught , award-winning photographer with nearly twenty years of experience specializing in Photojournalism and Documentary photography. A self described "humanitarian-with-a-camera", Ocean also explores Fine Art photography and engages with a wide range of subjects in life, though his passion remain in telling stories with photos, captured candidly. Ocean often uses his iphone to capture fleeting moments, using the stealth of a ninja and a zen-like sensitivity towards his subjects. The iphone allows him to get close, remain stealthy in his approach,and capture intimate moments, that tell the story of the human condition.
Ocean’s choice of subject matter reveals his humanitarianism, as he has a keen eye for the unnoticed and under-appreciated aspects of life, and presents them in a way that the viewer takes hold of the image for their own self-reflection.
Join us for street telling, family memoirs, and visual narrative telling! Enjoy watching these amazing storyteller's: Karen Gersch, Tyler Damon Rice, Ashley Antonia Lopez and Rochelle Spooner.
“New Air We Breathe”
Immigrants represent 22% of NYS’s current populace. Most are refugees forced to leave their countries, seeking asylum from persecution. Despite facing strange surroundings, customs, languages and often unfriendly scrutiny; the change is deeply embraced - like oxygen - to those gasping for new lives.
Women in exile are vulnerable souls. Their naked longings and hopes to achieve, to sow long-tended goals, are still too often unrequited. Abducted, forced into servitude, assaulted...yet many still envision those distant foreign shores of their dreams.
"All I Have Is This One Bag"
If your house is on fire: you run run run, but what to take? When your country and safety is aflame: families flee, all possessions left behind. For those displaced nomads en routeto borders - children especially - clutching sparse remnants of their lives.
Our roots define us. Perspectives of history align and ignite us. Humanity grows when we consider how, despite diversities and differences, we are connected. We must look to our Elders, those fossils of knowledge and erudite souls of understanding.
“Woman, Why Suffer?”
Why, indeed? Despite Suffrage efforts, voting rights, gender equations, sexual freedom, labor and family empowerments - the advancement of women remains largely shackled. We are still “the elephant in the room”.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetuate it. He who accepts evil without protesting against it, is really cooperating with it”. Amen, Martin Luther King, Jr.
Assailants include famed chefs, athletes, coaches, directors, politicians, celebrities, trusted teachers, TV hosts, newscasters, doctors, students, strangers on subways, on urban streets... the flood of unwelcome hands, uninvited embraces are an age-old plague for which I fear no vaccine will ever be discovered.
Louis Armstrong crooned it: “It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that swing”. I wanted this piece to dance. Made a jive of patterns hiphop the page - gyrating hues - loud, resounding with promise, a dynamic of audible joy and grace.
“The Lure of the Contemporary"
I don’t sew, so this is as close to a quilt as I can conjure, a current of patterns and text in a swirl of colors. Old, rural lives flow through an urban world; time pulses and recedes.
Every sixty seconds, 20 people in the U.S. are abused by an intimate partner. Every year, nearly 2 million women are assaulted. Even more die. The longtime visible wounds and suffering are what saddens me; bruises on our communal souls. Victims look down, hearts and hopes battered while society tends to look away.
I began experimenting with paint, torn paper and printed words in the early eighties, originally for a series on endanger animals. Although I did march in Washington, DC against the Vietnam War, I found I much preferred being an aesthetic activist.
The palette of collage has served well to express my disdain and anguish regarding ongoing global genocides and civic injustices. But it was the pandemic's hurricane of vicious assaults: the politics, protests, governmental insanities that fueled this collection. All the paintings and collages created last year and this year, were flamed by the horrors and criminal activities that ensued.
I used antique and vintage newspapers and magazines - some a century old - and ripped apart articles about warring factions and past turmoils; layering phrases, articles and prose with oils, acrylic, pencil and ink.
Above all, I use the form to tell stories; heart songs with morals or hints of how we can be more humane. Collages are like reparations, loose threads from the very torn fabrics of our country. As artists, we are voices attesting to truths.
Karen E. Gersch defines her life with words, paint and performances. She holds a BFA with Honors from Pratt Institute, has exhibited and is collected globally. A Russian-trained acrobat, she was a founding member of the Big Apple Circus and has traveled worldwide with circus, ballet and theater productions, always accompanied by sketchbooks and writing journals. Gersch currently teaches, directs and choreographs docu-drama productions, as well as curating large-scale art exhibitions throughout the Hudson Valley. She continues to paint, illustrate and create collages that address the human condition.
LITERARY WORK: https://www.humanitytales.blog
A stark reminder of where our idea of beauty comes from. Tyler Damon Rice reminds Black Women that they are beautiful.
Tyler Damon Rice! Nicknamed "The Truth" by the mayor of his hometown East Orange NJ, is a Founding Member of Nu Rho Poetic Society at Syracuse University, a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Incorporated, and 3x award winning slam champion.
On June 19th, 2021, Ashley Antonia Lopez had the honor of performing "Me Gritaron Negra" by Victoria Santa Cruz. "Me Gritaron Negra” is a poem about Victoria Santa Cruz’s journey to accept and embrace her blackness. To learn more about Victoria Santa Cruz, click on the link: https://molaa.org/santacruz.
Ashley Antonia Lopez is a deviser, a dancer, an actor, a web designer, and a social media manager. Recently, she created X|X Theater Company LLC shows how beautiful the Bronx is and to empower the story stories of Latine & BIPOC artists.
Follow Ashley Antonia Lopez on Social Media
Mamma, I Wanna Dance - I was isolated as a child. All the feelings of loneliness and anger return in my writing. However, so does my humor and love of life.
“Mamma, I Wanna Dance” is from the collection Harry’s Little Girl, by Rochelle Spooner and is also the name of her one-woman show. Rochelle Spooner, also known as Swami Mommy, is a Speech and Language pathologist, Yoga Master, writer, actress, community activist, and adventurer, lives in Nyack.
Rochelle received her BS degree from Old Dominion College and her MA degree from Montclair State College. She studied yoga at Kripalu Center in Lenox, Massachusetts, and has a certificate in Thai massage-yoga from the Sunrise Network in Chiang Mai, Thailand. She received her advanced training in 2003 in Evia, Greece. Rochelle’s instructional video “Yoga for People with Physical Limitations” is used as a standard for workshops by many rehabilitative organizations.
Rochelle began Harry’s Little Girl while studying writing family stories with Mara Mills.