Visual Arts

Frank Big Bear

Posted November 10, 2015

Duluth, MN

I was born in 1953 in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, a small town nestled in the northwestern part of the state. I grew up on the farms of the Red River Valley and the woods of the White Earth Indian Reservation, the largest in the state, before moving to Minneapolis at age 15.

When I was very young, my grandparent Big Bears, who spoke Ojibwe, gave me pencil and paper to draw on so I would not miss my father while he was working. My grandparents praised my efforts and I realized I was no longer lonely if I was drawing.  I never stopped.

High school in Minneapolis was a difficult time, but two art teachers changed my life. I got scholarships to study at Macalester College and the University of Minnesota.  I stayed in college for only one year, mostly due to financial issues, but I had the great fortune to study with George Morrison (1919-2000), who became my mentor. Although college was over, my education did not stop.

I drove cab in Minneapolis and Saint Paul for 31 years to support my family, and my professional career as an artist. Now, my six children are independent as am I.

In October of 2010, I moved to Duluth, Minnesota along the shores of Lake Superior. I needed to be alone and work on my art without the distractions of the Twin Cities. It was hard at first but I fell in love with the area and climate.

Paul Pfeiffer

Posted November 10, 2015

New York, NY

An artist working in the field of video, photography, installation art and sculpture since the late nineties, Pfeiffer is well-known and celebrated for his highly sophisticated use of digital technologies and new media, probing the way these technologies at once shape and alter our daily visual experience. Digitally manipulating or erasing elements from iconic images, many of them taken from sports events or Hollywood films, Pfeiffer adopts today’s frenetic visual language in order to explore our culture’s obsession with spectacle. Paul Pfeiffer was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. He has had one-person exhibitions at the Whitney Museum of American Art (2001), MIT’s List Visual Arts Center and the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (2003), the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne (2005), MUSAC León, Spain (2008), the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2009), the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, Buffalo (2010), the Blanton Museum of Art, Austin (2012), Paula Cooper Gallery, NY (2012), Thomas Dane Gallery, London (2013) and the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila (2015). He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including a Fulbright-Hayes Fellowship and the Bucksbaum Award from the Whitney Museum. In 2011 he was the subject of a retrospective at Sammlung Goetz in Munich, Germany. Upcoming exhibits include Galerie Perrotin, Hong Kong (Nov 2015) and Museo Madre, Naples (2016).

Mickalene Thomas

Posted November 10, 2015

Brooklyn, NY

Mickalene Thomas is a distinguished visual artist and filmmaker who has exhibited extensively both nationally and internationally since 2003. She is best known for combining art-historical, political, and pop-cultural references to create striking figurative and nonfigurative paintings. Her work stems from a long study of art history and classical genres of portraiture, introducing complex notions of femininity and challenging common definitions of beauty and aesthetic representation.

Thomas’s first solo museum exhibition was in 2012 at the Brooklyn Museum and Santa Monica Museum of Art. Recent solo exhibitions include George Eastman House, New York; L’Ecole des Beaux Arts, Monaco; and First International Contemporary Art Biennial, Columbia. Her work has been shown in numerous group exhibitions, including at La Conservera Contemporary Art Center, Ceutí, Spain; Corcoran Gallery of Art, Washington, DC; Hara Museum, Tokyo; National Portrait Gallery, Washington, DC; and Saatchi Gallery, London. Thomas’s work is in the permanent collections of New York’s Museum of Modern Art, Brooklyn Museum, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, and Whitney Museum of American Art, as well as the Detroit Institute of Arts; Hammer Museum, Los Angeles; Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas; Seattle Art Museum; and Smithsonian American Art Museum, among many others. Mickalene Thomas is represented by Lehmann Maupin, New York and Hong Kong; Kavi Gupta Gallery, Chicago and Berlin; Susanne Vielmetter Los Angeles Projects; and Galerie Nathalie Obadia, Paris and Brussels. She was born in 1971 in New Jersey and lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.

Kade Twist

Posted November 10, 2015

Santa Fe, NM

Kade L. Twist is an interdisciplinary artist working with video, sound, interactive media, text and installation environments. Twist’s work combines re-imagined tribal stories with geopolitical narratives to examine the unresolved tensions between market-driven systems, consumerism and American Indian cultural self-determination. Mr. Twist is one of the co-founders of Postcommodity, an interdisciplinary artist collective. With his individual work and the collective Postcommodity, Twist has exhibited work nationally and internationally including the: Arizona State University Art Museum, Tempe, AZ; Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, CA; Chelsea Art Museum, New York, NY; National Museum of the American Indian, Gustav Heye Center, Smithsonian Institution, New York, NY; Museum of Contemporary Native Arts, Santa Fe, NM; Nuit Blanche, Toronto; Contour: 5th Biennial of the Moving Image, Mechelen, BE; Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts Museum; Site Santa Fe, Santa Fe, NM; Adelaide International; National Museum ofof Art, Architecture and Design, Oslo; and the 18th Beinnale of Sydney. Postcommodity have been the recipients of grants from the Arizona Commission on the Arts, Smithsonian Institution, Harpo Foundation, Joan Mitchell Foundation, Art Matters, Creative Capital and the Native Arts and Cultures Foundation. 

In addition to his art practice, Twist is also a public affairs consultant specializing in American Indian health care, technology and community development with clients that include the Ford Foundation, Benton Foundation, Center for Community Change, National Congress of American Indians, Native American Public Telecommunications, Institute of American Indian Arts, American Dental Association and numerous American Indian Nations. Twist received his MFA in Intermedia from the Herberger Institute School of Art at Arizona State University. He is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma.

Willie Birch

Posted January 16, 2015

New Orleans, LA

A native of New Orleans, Willie Birch creates politically incisive yet emotionally sensitive work that addresses issues related to African-American culture and survival.

Sandow Birk

Posted January 16, 2015

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles artist Sandow Birk is a graduate of the Otis/Parson’s Art Institute whose work deals with contemporary life. Frequently developed as expansive, multi-media projects, past themes have included inner-city violence, graffiti, social and political issues, travel, prisons, the Holy Qur’an, surfing, and skateboarding. He was a recipient of an NEA International Travel Grant to Mexico City in 1995, a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1996, and a Fulbright Fellowship to Rio de Janeiro for 1997. In 1999 he was awarded a Getty Fellowship for painting, followed by a City of Los Angeles (COLA) Fellowship in 2001. One of his projects involved the rewriting and illustrating of the entire “Divine Comedy” into contemporary American English. A feature film of the project, “Dante’s Inferno”, was released in 2007. He was awarded an Artist Research Fellowship at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. in 2007, and he was an Artist in Residence at the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris in 2008, and at the Ballinglen Arts Foundation in Ireland in 2011. His most recent project is a consideration of the Qur’an as relevant to contemporary life in America, single-handedly creating a hand-transcribed and illuminated manuscript of the entire holy text in English.

Sandow is represented by the Koplin del Rio Gallery in Los Angeles, Catharine Clark Gallery in San Francisco, and P.P.O.W Gallery in New York City.

Edouard Duval Carrié

Posted January 16, 2015

Miami, FL

Edouard Duval-Carrie is a painter, sculptor and curator who was born in Haiti and is now based in Miami. His work uses his homeland and the Caribbean Diaspora as a source of inspiration and research, creating a visual vocabulary that includes his personal narrative intertwined with the history and plight of his native country. His recent mixed media works presented at the new Perez Museum in Miami have shiny surfaces created by layering glitter and glue on top of the paint.  Those works revisit the vision created by eighteenth and nineteenth century artists, some from the Hudson school such as Heade and Church, whose images of the Caribbean region created a pervasive vision of what the Caribbean was supposed to be. By repositioning and referencing those original works, this time devoid of all tropical color and situating them under a starlit and moonlight sky, Duval-Carrié has reinvented the tropical landscape.

He has had solo shows at Brown University, the Perez Art Museum, the Figge Art Museum, the Orlando Museum of Art, the Lowe Art Museum at the University of Miami, the Monterey Museum of Art in Mexico, the Musee Des Arts Africains et Oceaniens in Paris and the Afrika Museum in Holland. His work has been also part of many landmark collective exhibits such as Kongo Across the Waters and Who More Sci-Fi Than Us?,  an exhibition presenting contemporary art of The Caribbean held in Holland and many others.

With the support of the Institut de France, he organized The Global Caribbean series, a five-year program to present contemporary Caribbean art during the Miami Art Basel Fair. Currently, he is curating the thirty-year anniversary of the South Florida Art Center in Miami Beach and he is also curating the first History of Haitian Photography exhibition to be presented at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art in 2015.

He was commissioned to make pieces for the Miami Riverwalk, the Aventura Cultural Arts Center and the Jefferson Reaves Health Center. Public collections he is included in are found in the Perez Art Museum, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Polk Museum of Art, and the Davenport Museum. He was awarded the Southern Arts Federation Visual Art Fellowship and the South Florida Cultural Consortium Visual Art Fellowship. His latest commission will be presented at the prestigious Grand Palais in Paris in an exhibit entitled Revoir Haiti opening in mid November 2014. He was awarded the Southern Arts Federation Visual Art Fellowship and the South Florida Cultural Consortium Visual Art Fellowship.

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Posted January 16, 2015

Chicago, IL

In her highly anticipated first book The Notion of Family (Aperture Foundation 2014) photographer and media artist LaToya Ruby Frazier has compellingly set her story of three generations—her Grandma Ruby, her mother, and herself—against larger questions of civic belonging and responsibility. The work documents her own struggles and interactions with family and the expectations of community, and includes the documentation of the demise of Braddock’s only hospital, reinforcing the idea that the history of a place is frequently written on the body as well as the landscape.

Through photography, performance, and video Frazier uses the conventions of social documentary to probe and upend traditional narratives of urban growth and the triumph of industry. Exposing the underbelly of corporate practices—rapid deindustrialization and outsourcing, environmental negligence, and inner-city gentrification—Frazier’s work examines the crises of postindustrial communities and class divisions wrought by capital.

Her work is informed by late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century modes of representation in documentary practice. Through a collaborative effort with her family and community residents Frazier’s works emphasize the importance of cultural memory and sheds light on invisible realities.

A recipient of a 2014 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship Frazier is best known for her 2013 solo exhibition A Haunted Capital at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. She is a recently appointed assistant professor of photography at School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She has previously held academic and curatorial positions at Yale University School of Art, Rutgers University, and Syracuse University.

Mary Heilmann

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY

Mary Heilmann has had a distinguished career as an abstract painter, and was part of the nascent development of conceptual minimalism in New York in the early 1970’s. Her work is reflective of visual events that happened to her personally and she describes her practice as “non-verbal philosophy.” She uses painting to express thoughts, feelings and desires and engage with the outside world. Heilmann has had solo exhibitions at the Kunst Museum in Bonn, the Museum Ludwig, the Orange County Art Museum, the New Museum, the Wexner Center for the Arts and the ICA in Boston.  She is the 2012 recipient of the Biennial Award for Contemporary Art from Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht, and has received a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation Fellowship, National Endowment for the Arts Grant and the Anonymous was a Woman Foundation Award. Her work is in numerous public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Brooklyn Museum, the Cincinnati Art Museum, the Corcoran Gallery, the Museum of Modern Art, the Smithsonian, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum.

Leslie Hewitt

Posted January 16, 2015

New York, NY

Working with photography, sculpture, and site-specific installations, Leslie Hewitt addresses fluid notions of time. Her work oscillates between the illusionary potential of photography and the physical weight of sculpture. In her photographed arrangements, she isolates personal ephemera and the residue of mass culture to consider the fragile nature of quotidian life. Her most recent collaborations with cinematographer Bradford Young, explore photographic, topographical and psychological landscapes through a contemporary lens, exposing the tension between still photography and the cinematic experience of moving images.

Hewitt studied at the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, the Yale University School of Art, and at New York University, where she was a Clark Fellow in the Africana and Visual Culture Studies programs. She was included in the 2008 Whitney Biennial and the recipient of the 2008 Art Matters research grant to the Netherlands. A selection of recent and forthcoming exhibitions include the Museum of Modern Art in New York; the Studio Museum in Harlem; Artists Space in New York; Project Row Houses in Houston; and LA><ART in Los Angeles. Hewitt has held residencies at the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University and the American Academy in Berlin, Germany amongst others. She has recently joined the faculty of Barnard College in the department of Art History.