On View Online Through
July 31, 2020
Building Opening TBD
Explore the exhibition here and at www.SEQBiennial.com
Co-hosted by York College (CUNY) & Jamaica Center for Arts and Learning
Since the 2020 Southeast Queens Biennial was interrupted by COVID-19, JCAL is inviting audiences to view the exhibition online to explore the breadth of perspectives that Queens artists bring:
"Statistics document the impressive ethnic and cultural diversity of Queens but, for those who live here, numbers appear hollow and rhetorical. What is it like to live/work/playlike to live/work/play within culture-fluid communities that are still becoming "home" for its residents? The 2020 Southeast Queens Biennial curators, Molaundo Jones and Margaret Rose Vendryes, invited ten artists with a significant connection to Queens to address literacy, identity, and environment with work that investigates ways of being an integral part of the borough’s fabric through visual art. Exhibitions at the York College Fine Arts Gallery and the Miller Gallery at JCAL present work in a variety of media that can be read in more ways than one. Allowing for open-ended definitions of literacy, identity, and environment, Queens artists compliment, and complicate, New York City life through visual narratives that are like WRITING HOME." - SEQB Exhibition Statement
Participating artists: Jessica Alazraki, Christy Bencosme, Yarisa Colón Torres, Audrey Dimola, Nicholas Fraser, Jacqueline Herranz-Brooks, Jinyu Lu, William Jackson, Julian Luis Phillips, Tiger White.
Long Island City
My figurative portraits convey everyday stories of colorful characters. These are confronting the viewer, without interacting with each other, instead submerged in their own personal psyche. The narratives are based in ordinary and familiar scenes of Latino family life, highlighting the influence of American culture and implying indirect political political statements. The strong presence of primitive and naive style connects the works to folklore elements and Mexican crafts.
Composition and color are prominent in the paintings; I opt for the placement of the elements versus the realistic quality of the form. My intention is to break traditional viewing rules and come up with unpredictable pictures. Laws of perspectives and anatomy are altered thus creating distortions and exaggerations and ultimately prioritizing emotion over objective reality. Humor, nostalgia, patterns and decorative elements play an important role in the compositions.
The light source is not clear, nor consistent, and color enters the painting in radical, aggressive ways delivering emotion. Within the representational figures, abstracted forms appear. This subtle abstraction brings forth the social condition of the Latino, both defined and abstracted in the US.
Under the Table
2019, acrylic on plastic tablecloth.
2019, acrylic on tablecloth.
This installation responds to living in a nation that directly oppresses one's identity. With red, white and blue representing America but also the colors of the Dominican flag, culture is questioned when identifying how American one wants to be. With the three words from the Dominican coat of arms, viewers are invited to place a grain of rice in the can that best represents their oppression during the Trump administration.
Please use the following represntation for your grain of rice:
Dios= God; religious practices; faith
Patria= Homeland; patriotism; citizenship
Libertad= Liberty; freedom; autonomy
Holding onto Heritage in Trump's Amerikkka
2020, plaster, El Diario newspaper, rice, food coloring, Goya metal cans, acrylic paint, mop frills, screws, wire.
Yarisa Colón Torres
Home is an elusive term, yet it can provoke overwhelming emotional reactions... when I moved with my family from Toa Baja, Puerto Rico to Queens, New York in 1991, my notion of "home" was completely shattered.
In time, the act of writing, coupled with the construction of handmade books and hand-cut collages, became a life source. Through these art forms, I delved into countless themes, interests and lived experiences. And I began to question, and even, confront intimate and collective narratives related to one's sense of belonging to a particular place, group, community, gender, experience, among other categories.
After almost three decades, living in and out Queens, I have realized that my creative practice has not served as the ultimate answer, much less as a mode of salvation. But it has sparked unexpected, and much needed conversations. It has brought me closer to others. At its best, it has dared me to face reality.
(Top to bottom)
Enredadera y colmillo
2010, fibers, thread, cardboard, discarded papers.
Enredadero y colmillo
2018, mixed media.
WRITING HOME means charting my course from the origins, trying desperately to find safety, belonging, wholeness -- HOME -- in everything + anywhere Else. this has been a journey of individuation -- of profound growth + loss, hearbreak, codependency, emotional trauma + instability. but it has also meant -- the reclamation + rebirth of my heroic Self.
in the beginning was a hero seeking Home
(mapping), 2020. mixed media installation.
Left Hanging is an ongoing series of text-based sculptures quoting unanswered messages I sent on internet dating sites.
The viewer knows nothing of the author/artist or the recipient. Legibility is frequently compromised: all punctuation is removed and the entire message is layered over images dense with competing texts.
Initially intended for a private singular audience, these messages, now made large and corporeal, are transformed into peculiar proclamations, meticulous shrines to longing and a tenacious exercise in oversharing. That each carefully message failed, perhaps unread even by its initial recipient, matters no longer.
Making the effort, despite repeated dead-ends, becomes the point of pride, a reason to take essentially ridiculous messages out of the drawer and elevate them to proud, public proclamations.
SMARTMOUTH1 (Sudden Death), Left Hanging series
2019, hand cut printed banner.
LTB (Soulmate), Left Hanging series
2019, hand cut printed banner.
Poesía Basura / Trash Poetry is a street poetry project I began in 2014 guided by my desire to explore other platforms for my writing; I wanted to document it on the street. In Kew Gardens where I had just moved in, the project began with poems I wrote for objects that my neighbors abandoned. I did this before moving again because of the rent increased month after month, but I continued to develop Poesía Basura by writing on various surfaces and discarded objects found in places I passed through.
Poemas de la silla del toilet
2015-19, color digital photograph, hardbound artist's books.
The Cricket Warriors, for me, personify the mission of Writing Home. Their fight for the equality of girls in education speaks to the importance of literacy. Their fight for the right of young Maasai women and girls to control their own bodies speaks to identity. Their fight to protect their land speaks to environment. Dressed in traditional Maasai Warrior attire, they play the Western European game of cricket not to bring attention to themselves, but to the voiceless mothers, sisters, wives and daughters in their villages. With each and every swing of their bats, they write home.
(Left to right)
The Cricket Warrior I
2015, digital photograph on matte paper.
The Cricket Warrior II
2019, digital photograph on matte paper.
Right & Ritual
2018, digital photograph on matte paper.
My friends joined the movement for raising awareness of the truth about Falun Dafa practitioners who were and still are cruelly persecuted in China. Among the people of the movement, a woman named Kangni, traveled across Europe alone wielding a sign and carrying leaflets of information of the truth to tell people of the situation in China. I depicted the scene on canvas to use painting to show the spirit and ideals of the Falun Dafa practitioners who used peaceful and rational methods to try to stop the persecution and who have persisted for over 20 years to tell the truth to the world. I believe in the spectacular nature of this movement for human rights in China. The effort displayed by the Rev. Martin Luther King in progressing human rights in America can be likened to that of these courageous souls who raise awareness for the rights of their wrongfully harmed brethren.
In 2016, I met a family in New York City who had just come from China. The two children were a son and a daughter, and the children's eyes were full of tears because their parents were unlawfully sentenced to many years of imprisonment in mainland China simply for practicing Falun Dafa. These two lovely children touched my heart which inspired this oil painting. Since the persecution of Falun Gong by the Chinese Communist party many families have been separated and children have been displaced. The background of the painting features Sujiatun Hospital.
Where is My Mother?
2018, oil on canvas.
Call for Justice and Conscience
2009, oil on canvas.
Julian Louis Phillips
Slogan is an installation of drawings from my video performance Lesson No. 1. In this work, I wanted to investigate my own feelings towards political advertising and fill an absence of messaging I wish I was seeing. By utilizing the graphic layout of political candidate placards and the hastiness of protest signs I want to question where this language intersects and departs from one another. In Lesson No. 1, which is at the other location of the Southeast Queens Biennial - York College, I invite the audience to make their own placards through "drawing lessons" and replace their work with my own during the course of the exhibition.
2020, paper, acrylic ink, nails.
My story is still being written: minute by minute, day by day, month by month, year by year... one vision at a time. I draw inspiration from my chronic illness, Systematic Lupus. I strive to influence Lupus Awareness through photography by creating campaigns that tell the story of others who share my illness.
2017, digital photograph.
2017, digital photograph.