APRIL 4 - JUNE 10, 2012
ONE on ONE: Conversations with the Artists, May 19, 3 - 5 pm


Emily Biondo

Biondo's current work focuses on the aspects of human communication that cause discomfort: miscommunication, passive aggression, lack of information, inaccessibility, and guardedness. Her interactive, multi-sensory environments call on viewers to experience and dwell within those anxious moments of awkwardness that people tend to dismiss as the unpleasant interstices of communication. By engaging with the pieces, viewers become participants and players in these obscure dramas. By simply listening, one becomes a voyeur; by interacting, one becomes an enabler.

"I provide recognizable elements common to everyday situations, such as telephones and armchairs, to both draw and disarm viewers into the situation. The discomfort then arrives later from other sensory objects, i.e. a blinding white light, a cold tactility, smell, hearing, and sight. The aesthetic mixing of these elements is less important than their strategic arrangement--the optimal combination for the viewer’s interaction with the piece." In her AAC installation, however, Biondo dispenses with the ordinary and elevates this discomfort to a level of ritual. A large crocheted cylinder with seven telephones will occupy the center of the Chairmen's Gallery, and viewers are invited to interact with them and become participants in the soundtrack. A multi-sensory experience is created that conveys the inherent awkwardness of these moments to each viewer with ever greater complexity.

Emily Biondo is a visual artist working and residing in Washington DC. She received her MFA in Studio Art from American University in 2011. Several of her pieces were seen recently at the Washington DC (e)merge art fair in September 2011. She is Video Editor at The Studio Visit web journal.

Michael Borek

One day in 2002 the vice president of Scranton Lace Co., once the largest producer of Nottingham lace in the US, announced that after 105 years in operation the factory would close. Through friends Borek got in touch with the current owner of the abandoned factory, and he was allowed to photograph there off and on in 2010. "I was fascinated by this place where time literally stood still, and one could walk through different areas like an archeologist sifting through layers of history." Borek's work will present a fascinating juxtaposition with the rescued stained glass windows of AAC's Tiffany Gallery.

Michael Borek, a photographer of Czech origin now based in Bethesda MD grew up under communism in what he describes as “newly created, cheerless urban landscapes.” He found these new constructions depressing and was drawn instead to older buildings. That these old structures were dilapidated and deteriorating only added to their appeal. Borek continued to be fascinated by the visual archeology of urban decay after he moved to the United States in 1992. Several years ago, Borek became a member of the Multiple Exposures Gallery in the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria VA; his exhibition there was among The Washington Post's top ten DC area photography shows for 2011. He has had a solo show at the Czech Embassy in Washington DC, and last year he was a featured artist in the Rayko Gallery in San Francisco. This year, his photographs from the old lace factory in Scranton PA were selected for juried shows by curators from the Corcoran, Whitney, Hirshhorn, and Getty Museums, and one of them won second prize in the fine art category of the international competition of FotoWeek DC.

Leah Cooper

Leah Cooper is fascinated by the extraordinary world that exists within the ordinary. Her work questions our perception of the everyday. With an expanded notion of drawing, the artist creates site-responsive installations whose existence function as open works, pointing to a field of possibilities rather than a static fait accompli. She is an avid observer, a determined thinker, a purposeful maker, and an artist who designates a piece successful when it has generated questions rather than illustrated a single answer.

"I work outside the traditional notion of drawing, using drawing as a means to iterate rather than illustrate a variable framework of information. Typically drawing is considered to be a two-dimensional representation of the three-dimensional. Most often it is a depiction that is once removed from the experience of the object or place it describes. What if drawing were liberated from its conventional role of descriptor and instead employed as a strategy to make ideas concrete? A strategy whose tactics could include, but were not limited to, nomination, illustration, and notation and where materials could go beyond the standard mark makers and paper."

Leah received her MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art in 2009, where she was awarded the MFA in Studio Art Fellowship. She completed her BA in Studio Art from the University of Maryland, College Park in 1989. Since 1989 she has lived and worked in Baltimore. Leah was a 2010 Sondheim Finalist and a 2011 recipient of a Maryland State Art Council Individual Artist Grant. She has shown in the Mid-Atlantic region at The Baltimore Museum of Art, The University of Maryland, The Creative Alliance, and Montpellier Arts Center, and RTKL Architecture Firm.

Travis Head

Head will exhibit recent work, including drawings, artists' books, and sculpture in the Meyer Gallery.

Head earned an MA and MFA in Painting and Drawing, with a minor in Printmaking, at the University of Iowa in Iowa City. He received the Mildred Pelzer Lynch Fellowship during his final two years of study. He has taught at the University of Iowa, Coe College, and SUNY New Paltz. He currently lives in Blacksburg VA where he is an Assistant Professor of Art, teaching drawing for the School of Visual Art at Virginia Tech University. Head’s work is included in the Drawing Center’s Viewing Program, and his drawings and artist’s books have been exhibited nationally in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Selected recent exhibitions include Small at Luise Ross Gallery, NYC, Soft Eyes at Furman University, SC, and Terrain: Travis Head, April Warren and Neial Hollinger at KMOCA in Kingston NY.

Emily Hermant

For Hermant's installation in the Meyer Gallery, the new sculptural works "are made of interconnected, hand-bent, hardwood planks whose curves and twists create a swirling, energetic, spatial drawing. By rendering solid hardwood pliable and then bending it in unusual ways, I treat the wood as three-dimensional thread. The unexpected tension of the shaped wood and the configurations and treatment of these forms present the viewer with contradictions:  on the one hand, between material and form, and on the other hand, between the made and the process of making."

Emily Hermant received her BFA With Distinction in Studio Arts and Religion from Concordia University, Montréal, Québec, Canada in 2004, and completed her MFA as a Trustee Scholar from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2010, where her work was supported by a research grant from the Fonds québécois de recherche sur la société et la culture (FQRSC).  She has exhibited widely in museums, galleries, and festivals in Canada, the United States, South America, and Europe, including the FAB Gallery at Virginia Commonwealth University (2011), Articule Artist-run Center for Contemporary Art in Montréal, QC (2010), Hyde Park Art Center (2010), Merchandise Mart (2010), and DOVA Gallery at the University of Chicago (2010) in Chicago IL, The Triennale di Milano Museum in Milan, Italy (2009), the Biennale Internationale du Lin in Québec (2009), and at the Museum of Arts & Design in New York (2007-8). Her work has been reviewed in Espace Sculpture, Time Out Chicago, the Chicago Tribune, the Village Voice, American Craft Magazine, and Whitehot Magazine of Contemporary Art, among others. Hermant has been awarded residencies at the Vermont Studio Center in Johnson VT (2010) and at Studio XX Media Arts Center in Montréal, QC (2004-5), and has been the recipient of grants from the Conseil des Arts et Lettres du Québec (2007, 2009).  Hermant has upcoming solo exhibitions at The Delaware Center for Contemporary Art in Wilmington DE, and at the Durand Art Institute at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest IL (all 2012). Hermant is currently based in Richmond, VA where she is Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Craft and Material Studies at Virginia Commonwealth University (2011-12).