Picks: Sharpe-Walentas Open Studios

Two years ago the Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation Space Program joined forces with the Walentas Family Foundation, the philanthropic element of Two Trees Management Company (my landlord). Two Trees owns the Brooklyn building that houses the Sharpe Foundation, which since 1991 has provided free studio space to selected artists via one-year residencies. Over the years, the program has moved from neighborhood to neighborhood, and competition for the spaces has become increasingly fierce. The artists invited to participate this year range from recent MFA graduates to represented artists and professors. One of Sharpe-Walentas’s most popular events for the community is the Open Studios, which took place in DUMBO this past weekend.

[Image at top: Working from small black and white line drawings, Victoria Roth makes large-scale paintings that straddle the line between figure and landscape. A fair amount of athleticism goes into making these, with movement, repetition, and erasure her go-to strategies.]

Yevgeniya Baras makes intimate abstractions that incorporate sewing, embroidery, and wood carving. Interested in the collective unconscious, Baras has developed a series of symbols and pictograms that appear throughout her heavily reworked paintings.

In abstract paintings on display in Chris Dominick’s studio, an interest in architecture, playful 1980s design motifs, and suburban culture are evident. Dominick works both big and small, and object always trumps image.

Julia Bland ‘s wall pieces are woven, sewn, dyed, and painted. She incorporates open space throughout, although it’s hard to appreciate how delicate these pieces are in a JPEG

 Kara Rooney has been making odd plaster objects that often become props in her performances, some of which involve sledgehammers.

Mysterious narratives buzz through  Zachary Wollard‘s homey paintings. Visually they riff on folk art, using logs lashed together for frames.

Austin English makes books. His studio was full of wildly imaginative pencil drawings that swing between comic book art and surrealism with text and captions scrawled throughout. His previous books include Christina and Charles, The Disgusting Room, and the Ignatz-Award nominated The Life Problem.

Observational painter Aliza Nisenbaum presented large, colorful portraits of the women she has worked with at various social service organizations.

Mike Cloud has been noodling on a series of small collages of star-shapes and squares that he hopes will lead to ideas for new large-scale pieces. Some involve cutting up old ArtForum magazines and rearranging the text. Represented by Thomas Erben, Cloud is a faculty member in the art department of Brooklyn College.

Maria Berrio makes big collaged pictures of animals and figures that combine personal stories with South American folk tales. The images are sweet, but also tough.

The Sharpe-Walentas Studio Program is located at 20 Jay Street in DUMBO, Brooklyn, NY.

NOTE: Many of these images were originally published on the Two Coats of Paint Instagram. Follow @twocoatsofpaint.

Related stories:
Studio update: Two Trees Cultural Space Subsidy Program
SNAPS: Marie Walsh Sharpe Foundation Open Studios (2013)
My neighbors at 117 Grattan Street (2012)



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