By Matt Cosper
September 8, 2017
The McColl Center, Charlotte’s institutional home for regional, national and international contemporary art residencies, has announced a new coterie of resident artists. Zoe Charlton, Julio Gonzalez, Amy Johnson, Nelson Morales, Carmen Papalia and Leah Rosenberg moved into their studios at the Center on August 28 and will be in residence (working in an eclectic mix of mediums including performance, photography, drawing, installation and the culinary arts) throughout the fall. Aesthetically it’s a diverse group; what these artists have in common is an interest in exploring contemporary society through a variety of lenses. Some of the residents have special events coming up this fall (more details below) and all of them will be present at McColl’s open house on September 14.
Zoe Charlton will be in residence until December 5 and will be making drawings and mixed media works during her stay. The Baltimore based artist and academic (Charlton is Chair of the Art Department at American University) makes work that, among other things, places human bodies in surreal relation to natural elements and man made structures. The images in her Festoon series are striking on their own, but it is their placement in stark white fields of negative space that gives the work its focus. There is sex, and refusal, and power.
Julio Gonzalez is the only Charlotte based artist in the bunch, and his work in photography and sculpture lives in the maze of difference and dislocation that comes from a feeling of “being from somewhere else.” Gonzalez’s Honduran and Mexican heritages inform his work, as he deploys traditional Mexican and Mayan aesthetics in a playful and colorful exploration of contemporary American experiences. Gonzalez will be using much of his time at McColl to continue working on his Dia De Los Casi Muertos, a multi-media project interrogating cultural differences between Mexican and American experiences of Death and Dying. Julio Gonzalez will be in residence at McColl until May 1.
Amy Johnson is a Charlotte bred (West Charlotte High class of ’94) artist who has been living and making work in Anchorage, Alaska for the past six years. While her work covers a lot of ground with regards to mediums and subject matter, there is a consistent feeling to the material I’ve seen: the often unsettling magic of humanity’s dual citizenship: We are from the natural world and yet profoundly removed from it (at least at this point in history). Her video and installation work in particular seem to exist in this zone of disorientation. Johnson will be in residence until November 7.
Nelson Morales is a photographer based in Mexico City whose work is pre-occupied with sexuality, specifically the abundance of sexual difference to be found in different cultures. His work has focused recently on Muxe, a third gender existing on the isthmus of Tehuantepac in Oaxaca. Morales is a student of Antoine D’Agata, Juan Antonio Molina and Javier Ramirez Limon and his portraiture really is an exquisite balancing act of formal beauty and spiritual illumination. In residence until December, 5, Morales will be offering a three day Portrait Photography workshop which will unfold September 30 – October 21.
Vancouver BC based artist Carmen Papalia describes himself as a “Nonvisual Learner,” a designation he prefers to “Blind.” Carmen creates performances and designs experiences intended to “allow those involved to expand perceptual mobility and claim access to public and institutional spaces.” Carmen will be leading a performance/event entitled Blind Field Shuttle from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on Sunday, October 15. The program costs $20 for non McColl Center members and consists, in part, of a guided, sightless walk through uptown Charlotte. This should be mind blowing. Don’t miss it.
Leah Rosenberg, in residence until December 5, is a San Francisco based artist whose practice blends and bleeds between the realms of installation, painting and the culinary arts. Rosenberg uses a bold, graphic feeling for color and a more subtle sense for flavor and atmosphere to create work like the piece she’ll be developing in residence at the McColl: Color for the People. Color for the People will be an on-going project in which Rosenberg’s daily practice slowly accumulates; building an installation that is part Immersive Color Field Painting and part Meditation Space. This project will be further activated by periodic sensory experiences that Rosenberg is calling Color Bar, where small nibbles and a craft cocktail inspired by “the Colors of Charlotte” will be served to enhance the experience of the installation. The first Color Bar will be September 21 and will cost $7 for non-members.
Meet the artists in person at the Open House Party on Thursday, September 14.