Travis Somerville employs painting, sculpture and installation in his practice, which is politically and socially motivated. He works organically in the sense that he usually starts with a central image and lets the piece evolve from there by using found items and ephemera.
Travis Somerville (born 1963) grew up in towns throughout the southern United States and along the eastern seaboard. He briefly studied at Maryland Institute College of Art, Baltimore, finally settling in San Francisco where he attended the San Francisco Art Institute. His large-scale oil paintings and collages present images of political and cultural icons associated with the history of the south. His painting, drawings, sculpture and installations explore the complexities of racism and serve as a point of departure for discussion about US oppression and colonial attitudes abroad. Somerville’s work has been included in numerous museum exhibitions throughout the United States and internationally and has garnered critical praise in publications including Art in America, Artforum.com and San Francisco Magazine.
Events & Exhibitions
Residents from United States
Itziar Barrio’s interest and motivation for creating art springs from a personal need to react to and interact with reality. She has arrived at the understanding that human reality is not completely visceral or absolute, but it is an intricate psychological and intellectual construction, ever being re-created. When Barrio chooses an image, she takes into consideration not only the conscious worlds associated with the image but also the subconscious, societal, and sensational associations. She approaches the icon as a concept by maneuvering it through various abstract worlds and using many media, such as sculpture, painting, mural, and video animation. The repetition and extension of her original icons intomurals, animations, and drawings exemplifies the relationship that society has with everyday objects as recurring icons, whether those be practical objects embedded in our lives or abstract advertisement media creations. In this way she intends to bring up questions that are not overtly social or political, but that deal with the tendency of the human mind to create iconic and associative characters out of its surroundings and the effects of those associations on society.
Itziar Barrio (born 1976 in Bilbao) currently lives and works in New York City. She combines a wide range of media spanning the gamut of drawing, photography, video, animation and installation. She has been featured in solo shows internationally, including ARTIUM Museum, Spain; HVCCA, Hudson Valley Center for Contemporary Art and White Box, New York; Agenzia04 Gallery, Italy; Weekend Gallery and The Kunsthaus Tacheles, Berlin; Sala Libre Completo, Barcelona; and Catalogo General Gallery, Bilbao. She has also
participated in group exhibitions worldwide, including New Museum Festival of Ideas for a New City, New York; Cervantes Institute, New York; Now or Never, Bogotá; Havana Biennial, Cuba; Pist Space, Istanbul; Art for Art’s Sake, Italy; Gdansk Academy of Arts, Poland; Museum of Comic and Cartoon Art, New York; 404 International Festival Postelectronic Art, Italy; The New Vision Cinema Series, New York; Gallerie Augenblick-raum für gegenwartskunst, Berlin; Paolo Boselli Gallery, Brussels; Art Tech Media International Forum, Spain; La Casa de America, Madrid; and Sala Rekalde, Bilbao. Itziar Barrio has been the recipient of many grants, awards and nominations from major foundations and institutions including: Brooklyn Arts Council, First Prize Ertibil, New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, Spanish Ministry of Culture, Consulate General of Spain in New York, Basque Government Ministry of Culture, Bizkaia Executive Council, Gure Artea Biennial Prize and the Iberoamerican Videocreation Prize, MUSAC (Leon). She has been lecturing at Parsons, The New School for Design, Long Island University, Westchester Community College among others.
Residents from Spain
Astrit Ismaili’s practice is inspired by the urban landscape and sequences of urban life – human sadness, dreams and hyper-reality. For Ismaili, art is subject and object at the same time. The images of the body that Ismaili experiments with suggest a diffuse intimacy, while tending to dissuade a voyeuristic approach. Unlike most images we are faced with on a daily basis – images that treat the body like a commodity to be used and consumed, or an icon to adore at safe distance – Ismaili employs his body to initiate a dialog with himself. He places his body in familiar settings, though at the limits of our experience, presenting it as a symbol of receptivity, a meeting place between himself and the rest of the world, a communicative model in which information about his experience is presented and reflected upon. The portraits are stage-managed, with clothing, make-up, mise-en-scène and settings carefully conceived, resulting in highly sophisticated pictorial compositions. He uses his own body as a model to investigate his own vision and not the other’s vision of his body. Ismaili projects images and symbols, hopes and fears onto the male body. He uses it like a gesticulative vector not fully known to him, communicating to the viewer the novelty of his encounter.
Astrit Ismaili (born 1991 in Prishtina) is studying Theatre Directing at the Kosovan Art Academy. Recent solo shows include Artist of Tomorrow, The Kosova Art Gallery Prishtina, 2011; New Tear, Asma Sanat Gallery, Istanbul, 2011; Face the Reflection, KC Grad, Belgrade, 2011; Face the Reflection, Tetris, Prishtina, 2011; Right Turn, Turn Right, Traffic Gallery, Prishtina, 2010; Perspektiva 2010, Tetris, Prishtina; and B-Negative, The National Museum of Kosova, Prishtina, 2007.