Category Archives: People

A Few Minutes with Claudia Sbrissa

I will echo the sentiments of my fellow bloggers—the Annual Conference provides innumerable ways to catch up with friends, in unlikely ways. After catching the Health and Safety in the Studio session in ARTspace, I was able to sit down very briefly with Claudia Sbrissa for a chat. I invited Claudia on a panel I chaired in 2009 in Los Angeles, entitled “Ornament Now: Reassessing its Theories and Functions,” but have not seen her since. Thank goodness for Facebook!

After getting caught up with our personal lives since 2009, we got down to professional activities! Claudia was busy recently working on a new series. She notes, “The series Satis House continues my engagement with notions of place and space. The work explores processes of transformation; the simultaneous perishing and reinventing of our narrative; our collective loss, desire and longing.”

Claudia continues, “My process involves shredding black velvet into flocking, which I use as a drawing material. The abstract forms and shapes though mysterious are rooted in the natural world, alluding to organisms and the body in flux; a world overwhelmed, dissolving, and mutating. I work back into these spaces using pen, ink and watercolor to create dense clusters and masses. These spaces move from microscopic to macroscopic, suggesting illusions of infinite depth and space. Somewhere within these fragmented worlds lies our future; the promise of renewal.”

Currently teaching at St. John’s University, New York, Claudia received a BFA from York University, Toronto, Canada, a Bachelor’s in Education from Queen’s University, Kingston, Canada, and an MFA from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY. Recent exhibitions and projects include: this place is a bunch of lines Salon, Salon Ciel, New York, NY (2010), a site specific installation & works on paper, The Muriel Guepin Gallery, NY, NY 2010, The Persistent Future, Cue Foundation, New York, NY 2010, Utopia is Hard, Courthouse Gallery, Lake George Art Project, Lake George, NY 2009, Uncommon Threads, Walsh Gallery, Seton Hall University, NJ 2009, Exquisite Corpse, curated by Anonda Bell & Caren King, Paul Robeson Galleries, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ, 2009. Awards include residencies at Woman’s Studio Workshop, Rosendale, NY, Contemporary Artist Center, North Adams, MA; I-Park in East Haddam, CT; Lower Eastside Printshop, NYC; and Skowhegan School of Painting & Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME; as well as grants from Queen’s Council on the Arts, and The Canada Council on the Arts.

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Where It All Started…

Back in 1996 I attended my first ever art history lecture at the University of Leeds. I walked into a large lecture theatre where a dazzlingly glamorous woman stood in front of, er, this image, by Linda Benglis. She enthusiastically ushered us in, keen to get started, and, well, nothing has quite been the same since.

An hour later I bumped into a friend studying law and said “You are soooooooooooooooooo on the wrong course. The lecture I’ve just been too? Well, let me just say that EVERYTHING looks different now!”

The lecturer who had made such an impact on me? Griselda Pollock! And she is absolutely the reason I went on to do an MA and a PhD – and trust me, if I could study more I would, I’m an addict I tell you, and it’s all her fault!

OK I admit it, sometimes I do wish I could watch a chick-flick without noticing all the misogynistic undertones, but I’m eternally grateful to Griselda for making me see things so differently, so I was thrilled to run into her here at the CAA the other night. It was a great opportunity to say hello and catch her up on how my career is going.

Oh and if it doesn’t sound too stalker-ish (which clearly it does!), guess what Facebook group I joined first? I Love Grisdelda Pollock, a group set up by some of her current (and apparently equally awe-filled students). And that reminds me, I really should find out what she though of the Social Network…

(I think the photograph might be a little wine-infused but I’m nonetheless grateful to the photographer! ;-)

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