Lei Han (U.S.A)
Lei Han is a new media artist, educator and designer. Fascinated by the influences of eastern philosophy in western art, especially in modern and contemporary art, her recent work aim for creating the cohesion between spirituality and creativity, and as well as making new connections between artist, viewer and object/subject. Lei’s current work, in experimental video, digital animation, video art and interactive video installation, has been exhibited at galleries, museums, and film festivals nationally and internationally. Including Krannert Art Museum, the Arts Center, St. Petersburg, Asheville Fine Arts Theater, North Carolina Visions, and Shenzhen & Hongkong Bi-City Biennial, China.
Lei received her BA in fashion design from Shenzhen University in China and her MFA in computer arts from Memphis College of Art. She is currently an Associate Professor and Director of New Media at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
‘As a digital media artist my experimental video reflects the marriage of technology and visual art based on the traditional art practices. The visual language of my work is often poetic, like moving paintings. I have been working on an experimental video series name: “Ephemera.” Ephemera explores tensions between visual and sound. For my time in the residency, I would like to take footage and record audio from the trip: landscape, cityscape and urban space, etc., and edit them into a site‐specific audiovisual installation’.
Project ‘The Village and the Extended Soundscapes’ (working title)
‘My work, often inspired by nature and everyday life, explores notions of perception, memory, transience and time. “The Village and the Extended Soundscapes” is a body of work I started during my residency in CeRCCa, Spain in summer 2014.
Llorenc del Penedes, a small village in the province of Tarragona and autonomous community of Catalonia, Spain, with about 2000 residences, is the home of CeRCCa. Time appears to stand still, or slow down there. My project captures the surreal sense of emptiness, oblivion and the feeling of lost in time. This project will be presented as a multi-channel audiovisual installation that includes videos of the people from the village, streets in the village and a series of animated abstract soundscapes’.
Jonathan Monaghan (U.S.A)
American artist Jonathan Monaghan (born 1986, New York) creates sculpture and animated video installations that challenge the boundaries between the real, the imagined, and virtual. Pulling from wide-ranging sources such as science fiction and baroque architecture, he creates bizarre, yet compelling, 3D environments and stories with the same highend technology used by Hollywood and video games. Jonathan received his BFA from the New York Institute of Technology in 2008 and his MFA from the University of Maryland in 2011. His work has been exhibited worldwide in venues such as Bitforms Gallery, BFI Southbank London, The Hirshhorn Museum, and the Moving Image Art Fair. He has given lectures and workshops at the Glasgow School of Art, the University of Denver, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. His work has been featured by the Washington Post, Metropolis M, The Huffington Post, TimeOut NY, the Colbert Report, ArtInfo and NYC TV. Monaghan is represented by Curator’s Office in Washington D.C
‘During my time at CeRCCa I intend to begin production on a computer-animated film dealing with popular culture and Western history. Like much of my work, I intend the animation to draw from a wide range of sources, from mythology to baroque architecture to science fiction. I’ll combine these references into fantastical scenes seemingly from an alternate reality, where elements from contemporary culture coexist with an antiquated past. Both familiar and alien, the work plays with our desires, dreams and anxiety’.
‘At CeRCCa I began production on a computer animated film, which melds mythology, architecture, and luxury goods into a moving surrealist landscape. The film, tentatively entitled “Escape Pod”, chronicles a golden stag moving through a series of otherworldly environments, which reference wealth, power, and authority. CeRCCa provided the time and ideal environment to focus on the intricate and time-consuming production. The history of Dali and Gaudi in the surrounding area was an ideal point of reference in constructing my virtual environments and ornamented forms.
I had envisioned some of the scenes in the film prior to arriving, and finished sketching out the rest while traveling around Barcelona. This allowed to me focus on the actual production process during the residency. The virtual modeling and animation took place efficiently and was of high quality. I was able to construct complex virtual environments and completed over 10 minutes of detailed animation. This comprises the vast majority of the film and I need only work on a few elements and scenes after leaving.
Professional development was an important part of my time at CeRCCa as well. I attended the LOOP Video Art Fair in Barcelona. There I met with numerous curators, artists and galleries in the field of contemporary moving image art which will undoubtedly turn into more opportunities to exhibit my work in prominent venues in the future. Additionally I attended Sonar+D, a large new media art and music festival. I also connected the organizers of Monkeytown, a video art and dining experience, to CeRCCa as they plan for a showing in Barcelona, which may include the very piece I have worked on here.
The residency also allowed time for reflection on my practice as a whole. My perspective on my work broadened, as I have begun sketching out ideas and proposals for sculptural installations, public art installations, fashion, prints and even staged performances. The relative isolation in Llorenç and detachment from daily routines aided this re-evaluation. I am leaving CeRCCa with a significant amount of work accomplished, but I am also leaving with a refreshing and exciting outlook on my practice and career’.
Susan Olij (Singapore)
Susan Olij is an Indonesian visual artist based in Singapore, and also teaches drawing and illustration at LaSalle College of the Arts part time.Living and working in the United Kingdom, New York and Singapore over the past 20 years has infused a multi-cultural perspective into her work. Her work in the fashion industry in New York City led to a position in Singapore where she received a scholarship to earn her MA in Fine Arts. With a Fine Arts degree, Susan shifted her focus to art production and academia.
In comparison to her previous works of pure abstraction, her current work traverses the borders of fine art and design: a return to her fashion roots combined with her love of illustration.
As Susan says:
‘The East-West divide informs a lot of my work: I was conditioned as a child to consider the West to be the primary source of sophistication and the East to be somehow “backwards” or “primitive”, but have since reprogrammed that belief. I have spent time exploring my heritage through my work with textiles and, more recently, with portraits of the people around me, and would now like to investigate further and examine more of The West – not just the West of childhood holidays or university, but from the perspective of a multicultural adult.
In a similar vein as Catalan artist Antoni Tapies, my practice tends to be styled like that of a sociologist, where the work thrives on discovering personal stories through intuitive conversations. Tapies’s work speaks volumes to me because the material manages to transfer a multitude of non-verbal communications. My works are primarily done on paper, although I am open to working on other surfaces.
My interest in drawing uses the right-left brain argument to engage much more intensely with thoughts then pure painting. The results can be surprisingly tactile, even when they are two-dimensional’.
‘The work I did in CerCCa began with devising a set of written cards in Catalan that allows me to directly (although far from flawless) open a communication line with the people of the village despite my inability to speak in the local language. The goal to establish a connection with the community was a success and the portrait sketches were done with the help of these cards and other people who could translate. What I produced during this residency was detailed observational studies of various people of the village. The focus was also reflecting on the best conditions where an art practice can flourish with the help of local community.
For a long time, I have wanted to integrate my design and fashion background into my art. So in CeRCCa I decided to develop these portraits further by adding designs chosen from existing Haute Couture Labels.
The fashion industry has long held the belief that they are an exclusive society of glamorous and stylish minority. The argument is when fashion takes itself too seriously; it’s a spectacle that’s often resulting in the absent of substance. Every day people who do not fall in the ‘fashionable’ categories, is beautiful in ways that are anti-thesis to the products consumed by this very limited category.
These drawings are meant to ask questions about where Haute Couture stands in the eyes of everyday people. What ultimately define Fashion, and how we can go beyond the surface. These drawings will be part of my next exhibition in Singapore’.