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July 2017

Rocio de Alba

Rocio de Alba pRocio de Albaoses in a series of humorous and processed self-portraits, which shows us different contemporary mothers in current modern families. Current statistics confirm that the diversity of family structures are affected by many situations including the rise in divorce rate, interracial unions and legalization of same sex marriages. These statistics support the change in the mother prototype.

By taking humorous and dynamic self-portraits, Rocio explores what mothers should look like in the progression of the “modern family”. Statistically, the diversity of modern family structures is caused by divorce. She uses these facts and her own experiences as a base to her concerns and questions.

De Alba’s ongoing series, “Honor Thy Mother,” is featured in the Atelier Gallery at the Griffin Museum of Photography from June 6st through September 3rd, 2017. An opening reception will take place on July 13th, 2017 from 7-8:30PM. Event is free and open to the public.

Rocio de Alba shares, “In my early twenties my pious old fashion Hispanic parents divorced. Years later they confessed their most devoted accomplishments were sparing us the un-pleasantries associated with step-parents. Yet almost immediately my mother began a relationship with a man… and my father courted many women. Baffled, I witnessed my strict marital ethics unravel through the adults that enforced them and seamlessly integrated into what is referred to as the “modern family”.” In these self-portraits, de Alba uses props and minor Photoshop edits to transform herself into these numerous characters which “[focus] on the gamut of the contemporary mother archetype. Rocio herself has undergone broken relationships and separated children. She says, “As the evolution of a progressive family dynamic ensued, it revolutionized societal doctrines that enforced what mothers should look like and instead made mothers reinvent themselves unconventionally and with disregard to social biases.”

Rocio de Alba is a fine art, multimedia and conceptual photographer based in Queens, New York. She received her BFA from The School of Visual Arts and is an award winning book designer and handmade book instructor. Her work has been featured on many platforms including CNN Photos, New York Magazine, and the New York Times Lens. Her work has been part of different group exhibitions including at The Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado, Blue Sky Gallery in Oregon, and at the Vermont Center of Photography. Her handmade book has earned a finalist position and was displayed at the Festival Documental in Barcelona. On April 2017, the book was also selected for the INFOCUS Exhibition of Self-Published Photo Books at the Phoenix Art Museum.

Lena Viddo

Jessica Bush interviewed artist Lena Viddo:

The-Kiss-700x699New-York based artist Lena Viddo carries a sensual passion for life that shines through her provocative oil paintings. Equally beautiful and disturbing, her work explores the light and dark sides of our modern society. We caught up Lena for an insight into her creative life.

Describe your work to someone who has never seen it before.

My canvasses are where animal and human realms collide among surrealist landscapes. My work depicts a focused reality not tethered to realism, and it evokes a life on the edge of the incarnate. I like to disturb and entertain all in the same show.

What do you hope to affect within the viewer with your paintings?

My allegorical portraits celebrate the beauty and the horror of modern life. I attempt to represent the ambivalence I feel about mainstream popular culture and its focus on narcissism, self interest, body image and the tyranny of beauty.

My concerns span huge territory and include things such as materialism, lust for power, fascination with celebrity, technology’s impact on love, mental health, and relationships in this virtual age where children no longer run and play, but sit passively entertained by screens.

The Cesar A. Cruz’ quote “Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable” speaks to me.

Where did you grow up?

With a Colombian father and a Swedish mother I had strong connections to the coastal land in Colombia, and the rolling hills of Dalarna, Sweden. These opposite worlds speak to me and are reflected in my work.

How is creativity celebrated in your culture compared to other places you have lived and worked?

Creatively speaking I lean towards Colombia, where creativity and individuality are highly revered. Expressive and bold Colombians are making statements everywhere they go. Sweden on the other hand is very conservative and reserved where creativity and individuality are concerned. Swedes are reserved emotionally and this I must say was never easy for me.

I am extremely disciplined, hence I am one of the least spontaneous people I know. Perhaps the down side of getting a great deal accomplished is that I miss chance moments and happenings. I often envy my free spirited friends.

What are your favorite materials to work with?

Oil paint has a sensuality and flexibility that no other paint has. It can even be sculptural. When I look at great works in oil, I know they are good when I experience the visceral reaction of my mouth actually watering. I feel the impulse to want to eat the paint. Also, for me, translating three dimensions onto a two-dimensional surface is more effective with oils.

The medium of light has been calling to me for some time now. I have an upcoming project installation for an arts festival, Bonjuk Burn in the Middle East. I am excited to be visiting Turkey for the first time where I will be exploring the new medium of light installation for the first time.

Who inspires you?

Children inspire me with their free, perfect and uninhibited approach and view of the world. Through them I transport myself to a time when I was more complete and whole, unaffected by social conditioning and all of the societal impositions impressed upon us to conform to rules and our parents standards. I also use them for feedback and critique sessions with regard to my work. They always teach me new ways to see it.

What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

The best piece of advice I have ever received is to invest long hard hours into my endeavors. From Lance Armstrong to my martial arts master, Sabunim, this has been a recurring theme and personal mantra of mine.

The message is that with time, hours, perseverance and service, one can achieve true mastery.

If you could offer a piece of advice to the ‘you’ at the beginning of your career, what would you say?

The Dalai Lama said, “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

Also, get rid of the people and things that don’t serve you and your vision in life. Cut out television, too much social media, talk to people and look into their eyes.

Be present and always be yourself. It is your greatest asset. Never betray yourself by trying to be someone you are not.

The Dark & Sensual Paintings of Lena Viddo

Follow Lena’s work via her website www.lenaviddo.com

E. Thurston Belmer

E thurstonAs described by Bryce Grates, E. Thurston Belmer is an independent artist currently based in New York who is best known for his strikingly dark oil portraits and prints. With a Masters from Washington University in St. Louis and a BFA from Lyme Academy College of Fine Art, Belmer is well equipped for success and hitting the gound running this year, with already participating in three shows.

Belmar’s portraits have an intriguingly dark twist to them, unlike any traditional portrait. Often including surrealism, nudity, pained facial expressions and lots of contrast, the oil paintings are aesthetically interesting in an unconventional way that one doesn’t traditionally experience in a portrait. The paintings evoke emotions from the viewer that pry them to consider the life of the subject, and question their identity and place in society. The portraits also have dark titles that lend themselves to the pieces, such as “You may cut down my branches and build a house. Then you will be happy.”, which depicts a nearly-nude female body seemingly “floating” about a half-visible male body that is curled up on the flood below her, and “I am. I am. I am.”, which shows a woman alone, slouched on the ground of a hallway.

Belmar lives and works in Brooklyn, New York and has shown his work nationally.

Liene Bosque

Liene+Bosque +Prehispanic+City +2014 +Plaster +160+x+60+x+5in+(2)_lowBorn in São Paulo, Brazil, Liene Bosquê (1980) is a visual artist based in New York City. In 2013 she was a resident artist at Workspace Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (LMCC), having received the Manhattan Community Arts Fund. Bosquê has attended the New York Foundation for the Arts Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists, in addition to participating in the 2012 Lower East Side Studio Program and being granted a place at the 2011 New York Art Residency and Studios (NARS) Foundation.

"I am interested in the relationship between place and people. My work deals with the exploration of sensorial experience within architectural, urban and personal spaces. By the process of creating traces, shadows, impressions, imprints, and reflections, I emphasize context, memory, and history. My multidisciplinary practice, including installations, objects and site-specifics, finds ways to fragment habitual spaces, transforming rigid, subtle architectures into more fragile and pliable materials. I'm interested in materials that hold a memory and also already saturated with meaning. I investigate the passage of time, which changes place and how we look at place, through the presence and absence of who inhabit these places," she says.

Bosquê holds a MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (2011), a BFA from the São Paulo Estate University (2003), and a BA in Architecture and Urbanism from the Mackenzie University (2004), also in São Paulo, Brazil. While living in Lisbon, Portugal, she was the recipient of the 2007 "Anteciparte" Award, having completed, in 2008, the Advanced Course at Centro de Arte e Comunicação Visual (Ar.Co.).

Her installations, sculptures, performances, and site-specific works have been exhibited internationally at locations such as MoMA PS1 (2016), William Holman Gallery in New York (2015); the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago (2013); Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Arts Center in Governors Island, New York (2013); and New York Foundation for the Arts Gallery in Brooklyn, New York (2013); the Elmhurst Art Museum in Elmhurst, Illinois (2012); Carpe Diem in Lisbon, Portugual (2010); Museu de Arte de Ribeirão Preto in Ribeirão Preto, Brazil (2007); among others non-profit galleries and public spaces in Brazil, Portugal, Turkey, and United States.