“The residency gave me space to be creative again,” said Art Division student Juan Bautista, who works under the name of Nauj Leunam, as they surveyed the Art Division gallery where their newest prints were on display along with cyanotypes by Ry Essi, also an Art Division student.
Soy Bellisima, DIVX, and Cosas del Amor, Juan’s black-and-white linoleum prints on paper, interrogate visions of femininity and gender with their portrayals of powerful divas. Glimmering Seeds features highlights from Ry’s journals. The works, cyanotypes on wood, silk, and cotton using found collected foliage and negatives, have an underwater, otherworldly feel, with hands, body parts, sea life and handwriting, all floating as if in a dream.
Ry and Juan were chosen to participate in Art Division’s first Artist-in-Residence Program, which began in March 2023. The program provides selected Art Division students with the time, financial assistance, facilities and creative space to experiment with techniques new to them and impress deeper meaning into their art practices.
“In the gentlest and most generative ways, the residency made me refocus,” Juan said. “It gave me space and time and energy to put ideas into practice and workshop them.”
Ry agreed. “My experience with the residency pushed me past my creative limits into unknown terrain that led to whole worlds of possibility,” they said. “Receiving this opportunity allowed me to grapple with what it takes to make a cohesive show and how to install it. Certain plants that were once musing seeds became key players in weaving all of the pieces together.”
The residency was conceived and run by Art Division Special Programs Coordinator Luis Motta in order to offer advanced students the opportunity to push their work to a new level. The residents were given studio space, a stipend for expenses, critiques from visiting artists and assistance with hanging the final installation.
“What’s rewarding is being able to give students access to this kind of support,” Luis said. “Having space and a gallery show at the end is really motivating.”
Juan agreed. “The print shop here was pivotal,” they said. They particularly appreciated the support of Printmaking instructors Javier Carillo and Victor Reyes. “Getting that validation was key,” Juan said. “I studied printmaking in college and I’ve been trying to find my way back in. And this is right in my backyard.”
“Edge of Yearning” will run through August 26, 2023 in the Art Division gallery.