2015 Residency Awards announced at Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program

Seventeen talented artists have been awarded rent-free studio space at 20 Jay Street in DUMBO thanks to the generosity of the Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program. The jurors this year, Diana Al-Hadid, Phong Bui, Michael Berryhill, Carl Fudge, and Beverly McIver, made the selection from over 1000 applicants. Obviously, with that many applications, we could use more free studio space in the city. The residency period begins in September and runs through August 2016. Welcome to the neighborhood. I’m at 55 Washington–please stop by and say hello.

 Here is the artist info included in the press release:

Yevgeniya Baras, Brooklyn, NY – Yevgeniya Baras’s small, intimate paintings are constructed slowly over time. The dense abstractions of saturated, nuanced color cover her canvases front and back in layers of thick and reworked paint. In addition to her studio practice, Baras is cofounder of Regina Rex Gallery. Baras emigrated from Russia to Philadelphia in 1993 and has been primarily living in the US since. She received her BA and MS from University of Pennsylvania and MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Maria Berrio, New York, NY – Maria Berrio’s large collaged works, comprised of diversely sourced patterned papers and images, depict re-appropriated stories that blur biographical memory with South American folklore, resulting in surrealist narratives. Berrio was born in Bogota, Columbia and lives and works in Brooklyn, NY. She received her BFA at Parsons School of Design and MFA in Painting at the School for Visual Arts.  (Image at top of post)

Julia Bland, Brooklyn, NY – Julia Bland creates large-scale textile works. Bland weaves intricate patterns with her loom, adding and subtracting elements by cutting, gluing, sewing, and tying back together. The resulting modern-day tapestries disrupt prevailing distinctions between art and craft. Bland received her BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and MFA from Yale University.

Mike Cloud, Brooklyn, NY – Mike Cloud is known for his hybrid artworks made of diverse materials: fabric and clothes sewn into quilts, cut-up photography books, and plastic, alongside conventional art materials: stretchers, canvas, paper, and oil paint. The resulting works are unwieldy constructions in complex shapes, featuring both text and symbolic and historical references, including the Star of David and the Confederate flag. Cloud received his BFA from the University of Illinois-Chicago and MFA from Yale University.

Cesar Cornejo, Tampa, FL – Cesar Cornejo’s work explores the relationship between art, architecture, and society, to create sculptures, site-specific installations, and drawings that portray contrasting aspects of society, recomposing them in new settings that challenge our perception of reality. His work has been greatly influenced by his experience living and working in Japan, London, New York and Peru. Cornejo received his MA and PhD in Fine Arts from Tokyo National University of Fine Arts and Music and a Bachelor and professional title in architecture from Ricardo Palma University in Lima, Peru.


Michael Dixon, Albion, MI – Through his painting, Michael Dixon explores the personal, societal, and aesthetic struggles of belonging to both “white” and “black” racial and cultural identities, focusing on the unique “in between” space encounter by bi-racial people in the United States and globally. Dixon received his MFA from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Chris Domenick, Queens, NY – Chris Domenick creates drawings, sculpture, installations, and performance with materials and gestures informed by quotidian American public spaces, suburban culture, and everyday objects. Domenick often alters the exhibition space, evoking a broad range of architectural signifiers to challenge the meanings of his artworks and accompanying found objects as they appear in customized contexts and environments. Domenick received his BFA from Tyler School of Art and MFA from Hunter College.

Austin English, Brooklyn, NY – Austin English—whose books include Christina and Charles, The Disgusting Room, and the Ignatz-Award nominated The Life Problem—creates drawings, paintings, and comics. English works primarily in graphite and colored pencil to create narrative and representational drawings, sometimes layering his work with texture, collage, and patterning. English received his BA from New School University and attended Kungl Konsthögskolan Royal Institue of Art, Professional Project Program.

Steffani Jemison, Brooklyn, NY – In her work across a variety of media, Steffani Jemison explores ideas of improvisation, repetition, and the fugitive in black history and vernacular culture. She also organizes social and archival projects, including a recent collaboration with Jamal Cyrus Alpha’s Bet Is Not Over Yet, an exhibition, reading room, and discussion space inspired by the politics of early 20th century African American periodicals. Jemison received her BA from Columbia University and MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Aliza Nisenbaum, Brooklyn, NY – In her paintings, Aliza Nisenbaum depicts flowers, textual material, household décor, and predominantly indigenous Mexicans and Latin Americans. Recent portraits focus on undocumented immigrants from Mexico and Central America who have come to the U.S. for work. While the dominant narrative surrounding undocumented immigrants is that they have no visibility, through her painting Nisenbaum brings them into the public sphere. She says, “Giving something or someone your attention can be a political act.” Nisenbaum received her BFA and MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Nisenbaum is a new faculty member at Columbia University.

Norm Paris, Brooklyn, NY – Norm Paris creates sculptures, drawings, and mixed-media works that explore the relationship between objects, iconography, mythology, and language. Inspired by the changing industrial landscape, he is interested in objects for their permanence relative to the ephemerality of biological life. Paris received his BFA from RISD and MFA from the Yale University.

Kara Rooney, Brooklyn, NY – In her artwork, Kara Rooney explores language and awareness, using a variety of media including painting, sculpture, performance, drawing, photography, and installation. She is interested in how the spoken and written word, along with images, allow us to communicate with other, form identity, and affect our sense of collective consciousness. Rooney received her BA from Bates College and MFA from the School of Visual Arts.


Victoria Roth, Queens, NY – Victoria Roth creates large abstract paintings through an athletic and physically demanding process that relies on movement, repetition, erasure, and readjustment. This process also informs her black and white drawings. Both bodies of work portray ambiguous environments and organic shapes that remain just beyond recognition. Roth received her BA from Brown University and MFA from Columbia University.


Jessica Segall, Brooklyn, NY – Jessica Segal investigates the link between creativity and survival, engaging current cultural attitudes towards adaptation. Her multidisciplinary practice spans video, performance, sculpture and drawing. Combining ecology, science, and art history, she presents acts of endurance and tools for survival in a precarious time. Segal received her BA from Bard College and MFA from Columbia University.

Tomas Vu, New York, NY – Tomas Vu is a multimedia artist whose primary media are painting, printmaking, and installation art. Collaging layers of silkscreen, painting, drawing, and laser-engraved images, Vu creates fantastical scenes depicting cycles of destruction, decay, and rebirth, as he explores the capacity of nature and mankind for both violence and compassion. He was born in 1963 in Saigon, Vietnam and moved to El Paso, Texas at the age of ten. Vu received his BFA from the University of Texas at El Paso and MFA from Yale University. Vu is a faculty member at Columbia University.

Nat Ward, Brooklyn, NY – Nat Ward works with image series connected by a specific subject or place and sprawling multi-image installations with images sourced from an expansive personal archive. In both instances, Ward uses both black and white and color photography to create an engrossing and emotionally evocative experience. Ward received his MFA from Columbia University.

Zachary Wollard, Brooklyn, NY – Poet-turned-painter Zachary Wollard employs an aleatoric approach to both subject matter and composition, without any planning or systemic approaches to generating imagery. The quasi-narrative themes explored in his work range broadly from ecology to biological evolution to politics to art history, which is instrumental to his practice. Wollard received his BA from Columbia University.

Note: The program’s Artists Advisory Committee members are Phong Bui, Cynthia Carlson, Chuck Close, Matthew Deleget, Tara Donovan, Janet Fish, Mark Greenwold, Beverly McIver, Philip Pearlstein, Irving Sandler, Harriet Shorr, and Robert Storr.

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Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. For permission to use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

Two Coats of Paint is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution – Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. To use content beyond the scope of this license, permission is required.

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